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IBM Launches New Enterprise Data Center Business Partner Skills Program

Provides Training, Technical Resources, Certification, Marketing Help

LOS ANGELES & IBM Business Partner Leadership Conference - 30 Apr 2008: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it will develop a new Business Partner program to expand support for best practices and skills that will help clients move to new enterprise data centers, which are dramatically more energy efficient, virtualized, secure and resilient. The program is designed to equip IBM Business Partners to pursue these high value business opportunities.

This new program, part of IBM's company-wide new enterprise data center strategy, enables partners to specialize in supporting technologies and capabilities in what is a major growth market for the IT industry. Gartner Group estimates that more than 70 percent of global 1000 companies will radically change their data centers in the next five years.

The program -- targeted at customer facing Business Partners -- includes solution specialties with certification in technologies and practices that are central to a new enterprise data center, including consolidation and virtualization, green/energy efficiency, business resiliency and security. It will include two levels, with the higher level designed for Business Partners that make a significant commitment to skills and capabilities for IBM's new enterprise data center strategy.

The program will provide new enterprise data center-specific marketing and sales benefits for partners that achieve specialization, such as co-marketing benefits, assistance with education, enhanced margin opportunities, pre-sales assessment funding, pre-sales technical assistance, and an emblem program.

In addition, IBM Business Partners that achieve specialization will be able to perform client assessments in areas critical to developing new enterprise data centers, including business resiliency, virtualization, and consolidation. For example, IBM's certified partners will have the ability to measure the energy consumption of a data center before and after projects to allow clients to measure progress and claim subsequent energy efficiency certificates. Partners also have the ability to develop higher margin client proposals.

"The marketplace has voted with their checkbooks that 'certified skills' are a differentiator in the technology industry," said Kirk Zaranti, senior vice president of sales at Logicalis. "Our customers are faced with many challenges such as revenue growth, cost reduction, skill shortages and risk management. The new enterprise data center certifications will allow partners with exceptional skills in the areas of consolidation, virtualization, energy efficiency and business resiliency to address the challenges customers face in their business. We applaud IBM for setting the bar higher and placing additional value on the skills that are important to our clients' success."

"The strategy behind the new enterprise data center program is the type of leadership we expect from IBM," said Roger S. Luca, senior vice president, Mainline Information Systems, a global provider of information technology and business solutions. "Clearly IBM understands the need to embrace partners, both challenging us with new opportunities and providing the skills and enablement to be best of breed. The data centers of the future must be 'green' and virtualized. This is an exciting opportunity and we are delighted to see IBM bring a proactive and positive program to its top partners."

For additional information on the IBM New Enterprise Data Center Business Partner Specialty please visit www.ibm.com/datacenter.

Contact(s) information

Ron Favali
IBM Media Relations
727-489-7202
favali@us.ibm.com

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LOS ANGELES -- Bill Zeitler, senior vice president and group executive of IBM Systems and Technology Group, at the 2008 IBM Business Business Partner Leadership Conference.

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