RealTime IT News

Big Blue Smiles Bright with Colgate-Palmolive Deal

The smiles were bright and sparkly over at IBM Corp. Friday following the announcement of a high-profile deal to supply servers, storage, software, PCs and other products for Colgate-Palmolive .

In addition to the financial value (terms were not released), the deal is a significant win for IBM in its head-to-head tango with Sun Microsystems , which previously sold its high-end Solaris servers to Colgate.

Colgate-Palmolive, the number one seller of oral care products, said Big Blue would supply the infrastructure to power its business operations, beginning with the firm's global SAP applications.

IBM's eServer pSeries UNIX servers are already being phased into Colgate-Palmolive's systems along with the IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Servers (code-named "Shark") and Tivoli enterprise management software.

"Colgate-Palmolive estimates that these solutions have already resulted in a 40 percent performance boost and substantial reliability improvements over the company's previous systems," according to a statement.

Colgate-Palmolive said it would also increase the availability and flexibility of its SAP data by implementing storage area networks (SANs) supported by multiple Enterprise Storage Servers. The IBM systems running SAP are expected to be fully-installed by 2003.

By opting to standardize operations worldwide on IBM notebook and desktop PCs, Colgate-Palmolive has effectively ditched computer-maker Dell as a provider of personal computers.

Colgate-Palmolive, which has corporate headquarters in New York City, said the plan to use IBM's patented ImageUltra technology, which develops a single "super-image" that can be installed on all new IBM PCs, "is much less expensive than maintaining an individual super-image for each computer, reducing the cost of managing large networks of personal computers."

"Using ImageUltra, IBM estimates companies can save an estimated $100 per PC over the life of the system," the company said.

The company, best known for its toothpaste brand, said the SAP software manages its business operations in 51 countries, representing 90 percent of revenue.

For IBM, the Colgate-Palmolive client win is an immediate response to rival Sun's announcement Thursday of its Project "Blue Away" product targeting IBM's midrange capacity mainframe customers.

It is just another round in the heavyweight battle for market share in the lucrative server wars where IBM and Sun are among the leaders.

Latest research from Gartner Dataquest shows IBM improving its share of the overall U.S server market, gaining 1.3 points to push its share of the market to 29.3 points. IBM said the numbers reflect six consecutive quarters of U.S share gains.

"IBM's assault on the Intel server market bore fruit in the first quarter. The company's share of the U.S. market for Intel servers jumped 2.6 points in the quarter, compared with a 2.0 loss for Dell, according to first quarter 2002 U.S. server market statistics," IBM said.

Big Blue said it gained 19 points of share (year over year) in the Linux server segment, finishing the quarter with a 34.4 percent revenue share.