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IBM and Business Partner Bechtle AG just won a $150 million contract to supply the European Commission with 6,100 System x and Flex Systems for office and application servers and supporting services.
This is the largest contract ever awarded by the EC, which is the executive body of the European Union institutions and agencies in the EC’s 27 member states.

The contract is significant for both the size of the award and the fact that IBM and Bechtle AG beat out tough competitors including rivals Bull, Dell, Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard for the multi-tier/year contract. That they did so is a testament to the EC’s confidence in the performance, reliability and scalability of IBM System x and Flex Systems server line and IBM and Bechtle AG’s ability to deliver top notch technical service and support.

The $150 million contract also underscores IBM’s continued commitment to and investment in the Intel Corp. based x86 platform. Rumors have been swirling for some time that IBM might sell off the System x server line. Given the EC contract win, coupled with several other recent big System x wins and potential System x server deals in the offing, a sale seems unlikely.

In addition, IBM is readying a new line of System x servers for release in early 2014 based on Intel’s forthcoming “Ivy Bridge” EX processor. Sources within IBM said that Big Blue will bolster the considerable performance and reliability features of the upcoming Intel EX processor with significant add-on capabilities that go beyond Intel’s own server specifications.

EC Contract is “Inter-Institutional”

The contract is “inter-institutional,” meaning that most of the other EU bodies will use the framework for buying their x86 servers in upcoming years. This includes the European Parliament, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, and Europol. This contract will run for two years with the possibility of extending it up to four years. Within the contract, over 45,000 man-days could be made available for additional “professional services,” which will be provided in close cooperation with specialized service providers.

Bechtle AG, an IBM Premier Business Partner, configures and prepares the servers at its headquarters in Neckarsulm, Germany, replacing the previous contractor, which supplied HP servers.
The depth and breadth of this contract could conceivably open the door for IBM to win other lucrative server and service and support deals.

IBM System x Servers Deliver up to 99.999% Reliability

To date, IBM System x servers outfitted with Intel Xeon Processor E5 and E7 Xeon processors has proved to be a winning combination. The Intel E7 Xeon processor family targets large enterprises running data intensive and mission critical applications such as Big Data Analytics, business intelligence, large databases and heavy transactional processing in virtualized and cloud environments. All of these market segments play to IBM’s traditional strengths among financial, government, healthcare, insurance and defense vertical market segments.

ITIC’s 2013 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability Survey findings indicate that the IBM System x servers outfitted with Intel processors are among the top five most inherently reliable server platforms. The survey which polled over 550 global businesses in January 2013 found that the System x servers

The ITIC survey data also found IBM System x, System z and Power Systems i and p servers averaged the lowest percentage – four percent — of one to over four hours of per server/per annum server outages compared to Oracle x86 and SPARC which averaged six percent of per server annual downtime and HP ProLiant and Integrity servers which had an average of seven percent of per server, per annum downtime for each of those platforms.

Additionally, a 52% majority of IBM server users, including the popular System x servers reported very high availability rates of 99.999% ; this is the equivalent of just 5.25 minutes of per server/per annum system downtime. Only a very small two percent minority of System x server customers experienced more than four hours of unplanned per server, per annum downtime on the platform.

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