Intel prepares channel for server spike

In recent years Intel has seemingly been focused on the traditional PC sector in the Middle East. Although unable to detail how much of the vendor’s high performance computing business goes through the channel, VP and general manager of server platforms group at Intel, Kirk Skaugen, reveals how servers will be a critical element of the vendor’s forthcoming channel strategy for the region.

  • E-Mail
By  Julian Pletts Published  August 6, 2008

In recent years Intel has seemingly been focused on the traditional PC sector in the Middle East. Although unable to detail how much of the vendor’s high performance computing business goes through the channel, VP and general manager of server platforms group at Intel, Kirk Skaugen, reveals how servers will be a critical element of the vendor’s forthcoming channel strategy for the region.

What trends are shaping the Middle East server market right now?

First and foremost we are seeing the proliferation of high performance computing. It has been exploding and is 25% or more of our entire Zeon business at this point. In the small business market, SMBs that are putting in their first networks are important.

There are millions of SMBs that don't have servers, just PCs, and if I look at our channel customers, a fraction of them sell servers. So, regarding channel growth, building bigger solutions, offering services, storage and server technology is paramount.

Mobility is also a growth area for them, as more people want to take data with them and in order to get that data to a client there has to be servers on the back end.

How are you helping the Middle East channel develop these services and their offering?

Our relationship with the channel spans decades. At the moment we are talking with the channel about our strong silicone investment and making sure our processors are world class.

Why does that help the channel? Well, if we show the channel a good opportunity to refresh the product base - we are at a time in history where energy efficiency and performance are incredibly important -  or if they implement virtualisation software, the return on investment for the end-user can be just a couple of years.

We are also providing the channel, for the first time, purpose- built boards for high performance computing. This means we are now acknowledging high performance computing as a key product focus. Some of the most significant feedback that has led us this way has come from our channel in the Middle East.

What makes up a server sale and what role does the channel have to play beyond the transaction?

A natural extension of the relationship end-users had with the PC channel is for the channel to explain what a server is and what it does. There are tens of millions of small businesses out there without a server.

A lot of people have been using what we call ‘desktops on their side' and the challenge with that is they are not using the right data protection technologies.

The channel can explain to the end-user what Raid technology is and what it means to mirror and back up their data. It is a unique opportunity for the channel in the Middle East to go out and say, "here is what a real server does, this is what error correcting and checking memory is about and this is why an external storage box for back-up is a must."

The channel dynamic with Intel involves constant feedback through our sales force and our channel board of advisors who meet regularly and offer channel-specific feedback. A lot of the simplicity of design and aspects of Intel's modular server came directly from feedback.

Where would you like channel partners to invest their time and energy in the future?

Virtualisation is going to become a big technology and it is becoming simpler. It is a unique opportunity for people to add value. It is also important to really understand the total cost of ownership model for energy efficiency because we are all going to be under more pressure to reduce energy consumption.

Recruitment and retaining of staff in the region has been a major issue. What is Intel doing to help the channel with staffing problems?

We do things like the Intel Solutions Summit and the Intel Channel Conference for our non-premier partners. We are also planning a significantly larger online presence. Globally, fewer people are watching TV and more are watching You Tube etcetera.

Typically the end user walks into a store knowing what they want to buy because they've done net research. It's important that we address this dynamic with our channel partners so we can route customers to them from our website. We also need more channel training on the web as well.

Have you got enough coverage in the regional server market?

We are always looking out for those interested in developing a business in the server market. We want to go deeper with our premier channel partners. Only a fraction of our channel sells servers so the biggest opportunity is to take our current channel and show them the benefits of selling servers and storage so people that already know how to work with Intel are able to take this forward.

Also, software and services kits are going to be a huge element going forward and Intel has a lot of solutions in this area.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code