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IBM gives price break on storage bundle

Big Blue's "Skip One Payment" program lets customers miss one monthly installment if they lease a server and storage system bundle from the company.

IBM announced a program Friday under which customers can save money if they lease IBM servers and storage systems at the same time.

The program, bluntly called "Skip One Payment," is essentially a discount that lets customers skip the first of 36 monthly leasing payments, IBM said in a statement. The promotion, which applies to most IBM server and storage gear, is effective now and will run through June 30.

The Skip One Payment program highlights IBM's efforts to capitalize on the breadth of its suite of products. While chief competitors Sun Microsystems, Dell Computer and Hewlett-Packard all can bundle storage systems with servers, storage specialists such as EMC or Network Appliance can't.

The move follows EMC's release of a new top-end storage system, Symmetrix 6, which competes with IBM's Enterprise Storage Server "Shark" systems.

The program could have another benefit for IBM. By leasing rather than selling equipment, it gets stable, predictable revenue, something most companies are eager to have in the uncertain economy.

There are some conditions to the IBM program, though. The value of the storage system must be at least a third of the total value of the leased gear. And while the program is fairly broad, it's capped, so very expensive deals aren't eligible. The value of the leased gear must be between $25,000 and $1 million, IBM said in a statement.