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Ideal Hardware today announces the signing of an agreement with Sun Microsystems, premier network product computing company. Ideal will add to its portfolio Sun Microsystems' Microelectronics components, including SPARC-based motherboards and processors. The agreement sees Sun Microsystems become the UK platform from which Ideal will launch its components offering into UK and European vertical markets. This relationship will also enable Ideal to deliver an extensive components portfolio to the reseller community.

Ideal's parent company, Bell Microproducts Inc., is a prominent force in the US storage market. It is also the longest serving and most successful distribution partner for Sun Microsystems' Microelectronics components range working in the US. This well-established partnership will allow Ideal to become the Sun distribution partner to drive Microelectronics' components offerings into UK telecom, network equipment provider, and XSP markets. Before executing a full channel strategy in the agreed vertical markets with Sun, Ideal will undertake a period of investment and training. The alliance positions both parties as leaders in the European and UK components marketplace.

Richard Broadbent, EMEA channels manager at Microelectronics, comments: "Sun is keen to continue driving its board-level and processor products into the telecom, XSP and OEM markets. Ideal has firmly established expertise in selling into these markets and has plans to expand its investment in these areas. This, coupled with Ideal's strong reseller network and successful track
record in selling complex products, makes it the unrivalled choice as a distribution partner. Ideal will be promoting a flexible and competitive offering of SPARC-based solutions that will address the requirements of its reseller community.

Seamus Twohig, Ideal's relationship director, comments on the alliance: "We recognise Sun as an incredibly significant distribution partner of today, and a key technology partner of the future, instrumental to our continuing success. Ideal recognises that the market has fragmented into a multiplicity of vertical markets where one solution does not suit all. Therefore, Ideal will work to create a strong presence in vertical markets such as Storage Service Providers (SSPs) and Telecommunications, both in the UK and Europe.

“Sun will bring a key set of solutions both hardware (motherboards PCI and cPCI, and systems cPCI) and software (Solaris, Chorus and High Availability solutions). This will strongly enhance our product offering allowing us to fully support OEMs and Value Added Integrators, addressing the communications and industrial markets. Ideal plans to work closely with Sun Microsystems to integrate our technologies and services to provide a complete IT solution to our customers."

For further information please contact:

Gill Taylor Ideal Hardware 020 8286 5141

gtayor@ideal.co.uk


Mellissa Dorrell Ideal Press Office 020 7375 3633

mdorrell@metro-media.co.uk


Editor's Note:

Ideal Hardware Limited www.ideal.co.uk the wholly owned subsidiary of US based Bell Microproducts Inc., is a leading UK based value-added, storage-centric distributor focusing on the high end of the storage market. Ideal is also a leading distributor of Compaq servers, PCs and storage products and is one of only 12 Compaq distributors worldwide to be awarded the prestigious CIP accreditation for high-end products. Ideal has strategic relationships with approximately 80 suppliers of Enterprise storage, computer systems, software and media products. These strategic products are packaged with Ideal's value-added programmes and services to provide complete NAS, SAS and SAN solutions.

Bell Microproducts Inc is an international value-added provider of a wide range of high technology products, solutions, and services to the industrial and commercial marketplace. The company's offering includes semiconductors, computer platforms, peripherals, and storage products of various types including desktop, high-end computer and storage subsystems, fibre channel connectivity products, RAID, NAS and SAN storage systems and back-up products.

Bell Microproducts is an industry-recognized specialist in storage products and is one of the world's largest storage-centric value-added distributors. The company's products are available at any level of integration from components, to subsystem assemblies, to fully integrated, tested and certified system solutions. The company adds value with a broad range of services including testing, software loading, kitting, mass storage system integration, and computer system integration. Trained and certified technical personnel complete each of these processes at Bell Microproducts' ISO 9002 facilities. Bell Microproducts markets and distributes more than 150 brand name product lines, as well as its own BellStor storage and Trademark(R) computer brands, to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), contract electronic manufacturing services (EMS) customers, value-added resellers (VARs) and system integrators in the Americas and Europe. More information can be found in SEC filings, or by visiting the Bell Microproducts Web site at http://www.bellmicro.com


Note: This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements, which reflect the Company's current views of future events and financial performance, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or facts to differ materially from such statements for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to: the ability to successfully integrate the operations of recent acquisitions, industry conditions, changes in product supply, pricing, and customer demand, competition, other vagaries in the computer and electronic components markets, changes in relationships with key suppliers, foreign currency fluctuations and the other risks and information described from time to time in the company's reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and Current Reports on Form 8-K regarding this and other transactions). Investors should take such risks into account when making investment decisions. Shareholders and other readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. The company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- The Network Is The ComputerTM -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that power the Internet and allow companies worldwide to take their businesses to the nth. With $19.2 billion in annual revenues, Sun can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web at http://sun.com




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