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IBM Joins Microsoft RDP

CARY, N.C. -- Microsoft Corp.’s Rapid Deployment Program (RDP) added a new participant: IBM Corp.’s internal IT department. At a briefing held at its Personal Systems division, an IBM spokesman confirmed the company’s participation in the program, which was finalized earlier this month.

Participation in RDP is limited to a small number of end users and consulting companies. As of earlier this year, Microsoft had a target goal of signing up about 50 participating companies. Microsoft has declined to identify the participants in the program.

RDP user participants make a commitment to help with beta code evaluation, and to launch a deployment at their site within a fixed timeframe after the launch of Windows 2000. Consulting company members need to perform an early deployment at a customer site.

What makes IBM’s entry into the RDP unusual is that the company has not joined as a consulting partner through its Global Services organization; instead IBM joined the program for purposes of an internal deployment.

According to Patrick Gibney, director of Windows 2000 Systems at IBM, IBM’s involvement in the program was prompted by a need to roll out Windows 2000 Professional internally. He says the company is going deploy a limited number of servers -- about five systems -- since it is a requirement for RDP members.

Installing only five Windows 2000 server systems might seem like a token concession by IBM, a company that has thousands of servers in its corporate network. Gibney says, "The bulk of IBM internal IT is AIX. We had to work hard to find a place for the NT Servers to participate in that program." But he concedes, "The real added value isn’t there until you get to Windows 2000 Server." -- Al Gillen

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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