IBM bundles x86 servers with VMware, offers special financing

As global IT spending declines, IBM offers more flexible pricing plans

IBM is bundling its x86 servers with VMware's newest virtualization platform, and offering financing packages to lower upfront costs.

The move combines IBM's System x product line, including blade, rack and tower servers, with VMware's vSphere software, which was introduced in April. The new financing options let customers put zero down up front, and finance purchases as small as $US5,000. The financing plans are available for the rest of 2009.

IBM's offer is a "notable exception" to typically poor server financing programs, and "should be welcomed by business IT customers of most any size," writes Pund-IT analyst Charles King.

Despite the proven benefits of x86 server virtualization, "many organizations fail to take advantage of virtualization because they lack the resources for entering into financing agreements requiring up-front payments," King writes.

An IBM System x3850 server with VMware would typically retail for $US59,000. IBM is promising the server with vSphere to "qualified customers" for no money up front and monthly payments of $US1,675. IBM says customers can consolidate 70 workloads onto a single x3850 server.

All of IBM's System x and BladeCenter servers are eligible for the special finance plan, and IBM plans to offer financing for its iDataPlex servers later this year.

IT financing and leasing is on the rise worldwide, with IDC predicting that the global market will exceed $US100 billion in 2009, up from $US88 billion last year.

With global IT spending set to drop nearly 11 per cent this year, financing is helping to keep the struggling server market afloat. IBM has said that 42 per cent of all IBM hardware purchases in North America are financed.

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