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Blades for Banks

By Clint Boulton (Send Email)
Posted Nov 15, 2005


IBM is convinced certain vertical industries are looking for blade server packages. IBM is issuing a line of blades to help banks rein in their branch offices.

The systems vendor's latest foray? A BladeCenter system tailored to help financial services firms and banks consolidate the computing gear they use into one system.

The system, also designed to help retail banks make sure branches stay in the loop in the face of Internet and telephone banking, will enable wireless networking, local storage backup and restore and automated teller machine (ATM) management.

Code-named Bank in a Box, the pre-configured package offers customers a BladeCenter or xSeries server as a base computing platform and IBM Director server management software to guide the plumbing, said Tim Dougherty, director of IBM's BladeCenter strategy.

Dougherty said IBM is also offering customers the option of using its Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure software, which is allows companies to host upwards of 15 users on one blade server.

For the Bank in a Box configuration, IBM is using Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure in conjunction with software from ClearCube to condense PC infrastructure while improving system manageability, availability and security. Specifically, ClearCube's I-port software will be deployed to virtualize all of the clients in a branch and host them on blades.

Available now, the Bank in a Box supports Windows, Linux, VMware and Altiris Deployment Solution. The IBM Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure will be delivered by IBM Global Services (IGS) in the first half of 2006.

Banking isn't the first industry-specific blade package. Big Blue has also tailored blades for the telecommunications and security arenas.

With roughly 40 percent of the market and 300,000 installations, IBM easily leads the blade server arena over rivals like HP, Sun Microsystems, Egenera, and Dell, according to figures from Gartner and IDC.

Big Blue has been working hard to become the de facto standard for a space that is one of the last frontiers on the server market that has yet to mature.

More than 300 companies have signed up to receive specifications and develop products and solutions for BladeCenter since IBM and Intel opened them to the industry in September 2004.

In July, IBM announced pledged to form an industry community around BladeCenter called Blade.org, which includes Brocade, Cisco, Citrix Systems, Intel, Network Appliance, Nortel, Novell and VMware.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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