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IBM is one of the top performers in the blade server category. According to IDC, it accounts for more than one-fifth of blade server sales due to the popularity of its BladeCenter line.

The company offers server blades in two categories -- those powered by Intel Xeon processors and those harnessing the IBM Power7 processor.

Among the many x86 blades on offer is the IBM BladeCenter HX5, which is intended for database, virtualization, business intelligence, modeling and simulation and other enterprise applications. Its various configurations include 2- and 4-socket, six-core, eight-core or 10-core Intel Xeon versions with up to 256 GB of RAM per 2-socket HX5. It also scales to 640 GB using a MAX5 expansion blade. If desired, the HX5 can provide up to 100 GB of storage capacity per 2-socket HX5 using solid-state drives.

At the high end of the Power processor-based IBM BladeCenter models is the PS700 Express. Its four 64-bit 3.0 GHz POWER7 cores come with Hardware Decimal Floating-Point acceleration, as well as 4 GB to 64 GB of memory in eight DIMM slots.

IBM also provides a choice of chassis to suit the needs of data centers, stores, remote sites and non-traditional environments. These range from the BladeCenter S chassis, which is 7U high with six server bays of 2-disk storage module bays and up to 12, 3.5" HDD bays. The largest unit is the BladeCenter HT chassis, which is a ruggedized NEBS-3/ETSI-compliant chassis ideal for next-generation, high-performance applications. This 12U chassis includes 12 server bays. Other chassis available include the BladeCenter H chassis and BladeCenter E chassis.

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