Australian systems integrator, Xenon Systems, has won a contract worth $40,000 to provide three whitebox-based Itanium servers for the local office of a global betting agency.
The Melbourne-based company claims the deal is the first of many whitebox vendors will win against multinationals in the high-end computing space.
Xenon managing director, Dragan Dimitrovici, said it had secured the deal over multinational vendors Sun and HP.
While declining to name the customer, Dimitrovici said the three servers would run as part of a global server cluster, replacing existing Sun Sparc-based boxes.
"Intel's Xeon platform was not going to cut it with the customer," he said. "We saw Itanium as the solution - it's the only product today that the customer could use without having to buy mainframes."
Dimitrovici claimed the deal was the first time an Itanium solution had been developed by the channel in Australia.
"This deal shows the channel is a smart player," he said. "You don't need these multinationals to win a big deal.
"This deal, as our first reference site, will open many doors for us."
He attributed the win to the small and nimble size of the Xenon business.
"Multinationals such as HP walk in and tell you what you need - they don't try to design the best solution for you," Dimitrovici said. "Their agenda is to sell what's on the shelf. They have to sell what they are committed to shipping.
"We are very agile, and can adopt new technology and platforms quickly. The key difference with us and other multinational organisations or whitebox vendors is that we don't have our products on the shelf - we design a solution to fit the specific customer's pain."
Dimitrovici said one of the hardest things for the PC channel to overcome was the perception smaller integrators could not craft high-end computing solutions which matched the magnitude of the bigger multinational vendors. Xenon had lost out on several government-based contracts in the past against the mightier multinational server builders.
"When you think about big solutions, you generally think about IBM or HP," he said. "Large customers feel they have to go with a big brand to get the support behind it. People don't know the smaller players, like us, have solutions that are of this scope."
Dimitrovici said he hoped the local deal would allow Xenon to plug into the customer's global network and sell its server products worldwide.
More broadly, Xenon would look to grow its customer base by partnering with other small system builders in other countries, he said.
Already, the company was working with a China-based integrator under Intel's Premier Partner scheme to provide support for its server-based products in that country.
"I'd like to see us expand this customer win with a global deal," he said. "I'd also like to expand the network and create a support structure where smaller players can work together against the multinationals globally. The only way to succeed is to work together."
Commenting on the win, Intel national sales manager of RCO for Australia/New Zealand, Andrew McLean, said the vendor would continue to provide training and resources to local system builders to develop more solutions across its high-end product range.
"With our high-end products, such as Itanium, we don't go to the broad channel," he said. "We go for resellers with the technical capabilities to go into the market with that product. Xenon was one of these. We're certainly keen to increase the local system builders' penetration of these markets."
McLean said whitebox server growth had doubled in recent years across the A/NZ market.
"This is higher than the overall server growth recorded," he said.