Intel is taking its hold on the New Zealand server market with a program designed to encourage local assemblers to climb on the all-Intel bandwagon. Dangling Intel technical and sales training in front of assemblers has ensured that many of them are tempted.
According to market research firm IDC, locally assembled servers make up 9 to 11 per cent of the total server market, and with Intel's support that percentage will continue to increase.
Intel New Zealand general manager Scott Gilmour claimed: "We're trying to help local assemblers broaden their client offerings to the server and networking infrastructure."
However, one local assembler that won't be going down the all-Intel route is Compucon. The Auckland-based firm, which is part of an Asia-Pacific group with part-New Zealand ownership, uses Intel CPUs but sources other components from elsewhere and will continue to do so, says national sales manager Kevin Langley. "What Intel is doing is commoditising the product which we don't believe in. We have associations with other component manufacturers overseas and they give us input into their product design."
Intel is providing technical training on how to build advanced systems, addressing issues such as redundancy, operating systems (Linux, Sun Solaris, Novell NetWare, SCO Unix or Microsoft Windows), manageability, reliability, testing and validation of components. Sales training is also available and Intel will help companies put together a marketing campaign.
"Initially, we had about 10 local companies which we identified as having the technical depth and financial strength to get into the server space. Now we'd like to take it out to the next tier," says Gilmour.
Last year, Intel came out with specifications for a SHV (standard high volume) server comprising Intel components such as CPU, motherboard, chassis and case.
Christchurch-based Cyclone Computers, which was already in the server market, started building Intel SHV servers last year. "People like having a brand-name server for comfort," says Cyclone general manager Richard Morgan. "With the Intel SHV program, you can pick and choose from a list of Intel components that have all been tested in the US. As long as you stick to their recipe they undertake that it will be a sound certified server."
Cyclone has also had Intel training and Intel has spoken to Cyclone customers. "We were pretty well advanced as far as building servers goes, but certainly the servers are of a higher standard now than what we were building a couple of years ago," Morgan said.
Auckland-based Ultra Computers decided to start building higher-end machines after a meeting with dealers last year. The company moved to a server designed around an Intel case, chassis and motherboard, says Ultra's Mark Forbes. "Our percentage of server units has risen by about 20 per cent in the last 12 months. We've gone from the $NZ5000 ($A4200) range 18 months ago to the $NZ15,000 ($A12,500)."