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Intel is pinning high hopes on its SMB server product launched today, hoping the product will help it double channel sales and expand its presence further into emerging markets.

The Intel Modular Server building blocks integrate networking and storage capabilities in a low-cost product with a simple, Web-based management console, making the product a good fit for cash-strapped SMBs said Steve Dallman, general manager of the Intel worldwide reseller channel organization.

IMS building blocks include a blade server motherboard, storage and a networking switch built on Intel’s Multi-Flex server management and storage technology, which provides comparable features, heating and cooling advantages, and performance to Intel’s blade server offerings but at a much lower cost, said David Brown, general manager of Intel channel server products group.

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Intel said it expects server growth in the SMB space to increase as much as 13 percent in 2008, and that continued growth in emerging markets such as Asia will require low-cost, high performance such as that offered by the IMS building blocks. Dallman said Intel’s 190,000 worldwide channel partners currently active in 165 countries will drive that growth, and that the opportunities for integrators, system builders and VARs is incredible.

“This year we estimate that 700,000 new SMBs will adopt server technology for the first time,” Dallman said. He added that this new business would be a boon for partners. “We hope this product will double our channel business,” Dallman said.

Joe Toste, vice president of sales and marketing at system builder Equus Technologies, said that the IMS would replace more complex entry-level server offerings from Intel.

“This product will absolutely grow the market for white box servers,” said Toste. IMS allows system builders to compete against more complex, more expensive, less flexible server options from Dell and HP, for example. “With other servers, you have to get a complete blade system to experience any kind of ROI,” Toste said, but IMS offers comparable performance without the cost of a blade, he added.

IMS building blocks can support up to six server nodes and 14 serial SCSI drives, two Ethernet switch modules and also includes integrated SAN and a visual, Web-based GUI, Brown said. IMS building blocks also offer a remote management capability, which can ease the management and troubleshooting burden for SMBs, since management can be performed anytime, anywhere without having an on-site server administrator, Dallman said.