Terra Lycos signs IBM for exclusive hardware, support

Global Internet company Terra Lycos SA is shifting to a one-vendor IT strategy, signing on with IBM Corp. for hardware and support for the next two years and replacing equipment and software now supplied by Sun Microsystems Inc. and Compaq Computer Corp.

The deal that was announced today is worth tens of millions of dollars, but exact figures weren't released.

Under the agreement, IBM will provide eServer pSeries Unix servers; eServer xSeries Intel Corp.-based servers; and software, including the WebSphere e-business software, Tivoli Systems Inc.'s enterprise management software and Lotus Development Corp.'s Lotus Notes. IBM will also provide all necessary support for new and existing systems and software, said Tim Wright, chief technical officer (CTO) at Terra Lycos.

Terra Lycos had been using Compaq Intel-based hardware running Linux or Windows 2000 and Sun hardware running Solaris. The reason for the switch, Wright said, is that he'll now have one vendor to deal with for his entire system.

"I don't want five vendors in my data center," he said. "I'm into making my life simple."

Barcelona-based Terra Lycos, which has its U.S. headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, already uses IBM software, including Tivoli, Lotus Notes and Informix Corp.'s database, Wright said. So when the company sought proposals for additional support, it made sense to seek one vendor in an effort to streamline operations, he said.

Terra Lycos' Web infrastructure serves about 99 million Web visitors each month, according to the company.

Under the deal, IBM will tie together the company's Web-serving, enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management and systems. Terra Lycos will also collaborate with scientists at the IBM Research Lab in Almaden, Calif., to develop new technologies and applications.

Arch Currid, a spokesman for Compaq, said "it's a normal day-to-day thing in the industry" when one IT vendor gets a major new customer at the expense of another. "We compete for those accounts all the time," he said.

While Compaq lost this round, Currid said, his company has recently reached deals with other users, including Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp.

A Sun spokeswoman declined to comment on the move.

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