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Big Blue BladeCenter Spec a Hit

By Clint Boulton (Send Email)
Posted Dec 21, 2004


IBM's decision to free up design specifications for its blade server system has stimulated interest in the tech community. The company said more than 100 companies have embraced the BladeCenter spec to build various hardware products. IBM is forging ahead with its open BladeCenter spec, with more than 100 vendors signing up to use it since September.

Emulex, Ranch Networks, and Tarari are some of the hardware vendors that have used the spec to design gear. The spec permits free grazing of the design specifications for developers and partners of BladeCenter, a modular server in which thin servers, the thickness of pizza boxes, may be easily added to or removed from a larger enclosure.

In addition to using less space, blades are popular because they require fewer cables and consume less power than traditional rack servers.

Emulex is using the specification to develop host bus adapters (HBAs), which provide SAN connectivity for IBM BladeCenter. The company expects to have them ready for sale by early 2005.

Ranch Networks is using the BladeCenter spec to create a Network Control Option Blade that will allow IP Telephony Service Providers to control security and other policies. Tarari creates chips for high-speed XML processing that run on the with BladeCenter.

With Intel by its side, the Armonk, N.Y., systems vendor opened up the design in September, hoping to lure additional hardware vendors to design networking switches, adapter cards, and appliance and communications blades that work with BladeCenter.

IBM, which currently leads the blade server market, hopes its design will become the industry standard, giving it a leg up over top blade rival HP.

To date, IBM has sold more than 100,000 Intel Xeon blade systems, contributing to its 44 percent market share, according to IDC. HP trails at 32 percent. IDC claims blades will account for one out of every four servers sold by 2007.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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