You may be sold on the benefits and compact design of blade servers, but will your clients want to make the switch? By Rachel Cericola
May 06, 2008
Blade Servers: How to Make the Sale
You may be sold on the benefits and compact design of blade servers, but will your clients want to make the switch?
By Rachel Cericola
Before approaching your customers, make sure you are educated on the topic, because chances are, your customers won’t be. "The term ‘blades’ actually covers a rather broad range of products from essentially servers-on-their-side to more integrated data-centers- in-a-box," says Gordon Haff, principal IT adviser for research firm Illuminata. "So one of the tricks to selling blades is to understand the approaches being taken by different vendors, so that you can match them up with different types of users."
Finding the right customer may be as easy as evaluating which of your clients has a growing company in need of more power. "Keep in mind that if you focus just on virtualization needs, you may miss some good opportunities and vice versa," says Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst for StorageIO. "If you ignore virtualization, you may miss some low-hanging fruit, consequently."
According to a 2007 report from research firm IDC, adoption of blade servers for virtualization is 26.7 percent—more than four times that of the general market. That could open the door for an up-sell opportunity as well. "Toss in virtualization products like VMware’s ESX Server and blades offer an ideal solution for enabling server/data center consolidation," advises Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT Inc. Gary Chen, senior analyst in Yankee Group’s Enterprise Research group, agrees that combining blades and virtualization is a hot area, and one that can create an ultra-dense computing infrastructure.
Also, think about some of the IT systems you’ve had to service in the past. We’ve all seen rooms or photos that show webs of wires and rows of equipment. The slim package is one of this product’s strongest selling points. "Blade servers are mainly about space," says Chen. "Management is also easier, since all the components are in one chassis and an admin can see and monitor all the hardware and software."
When all else fails, go for something everyone can relate to—savings. SMBs can’t always afford the floor space. A blade server enables your customers to fit more data into the same amount of space. This, as well as cooling and componentsharing benefits, will outweigh up-front costs in the long run.