RLX Cuts Out Hardware

Faced with stiff competition from server vendor giants like IBM and HP, RLX Technologies late last week said it is leaving the hardware business. The company, which was the first to market in the server blades space, will stop selling blade servers and focus instead on selling software to manage them. With IBM and HP tightening their lock on the blade server market, RLX has opted to manage blades rather than serve them.

The Woodlands, Texas, blade pioneer will continue to provide hardware support to current customers, and warranties for hardware purchased through RLX or its resellers will be honored.

RLX said in a statement it will now offer its flagship Control Tower software suite for all major blade and server platforms. The suite provides on-the-fly server monitoring, alerting, provisioning, and policy automation.

This news comes about six weeks after RLX released its sixth-generation SB6400 blade, which is available with dual-Xeon EM64T processors, as well as two rackmount 1U servers.

Blades are modular servers that require fewer cables, as well as less power and space, making them attractive for enterprises with fewer resources. These characteristics also make them more convenient for utility computing environments, where customers press a few buttons to procure more computing resources, paying as they go.

RLX said customers have voiced their concerns about a lack of common server management tools, paving the way for the company to make inroads with its Control Tower platform, which RLX sees as the differentiator.

A heterogeneous management framework is important in blade server environments, tethering together products from different vendors. Common management remains one of the barriers to adoption in the server world, as customers are loathe to shell out for products if they are not sure they will work with the existing hardware in their data centers.

Control Tower RLX will be working with original equipment manufacturers and server customers to provide the Control Tower management suite.

Founded by former Compaq executives, RLX is widely credited as the first blade server vendor. But in the past few years, major server vendors like IBM, HP, Dell and Sun Microsystems poured their resources into the blade market, making it difficult for smaller vendors to compete.

IBM is the reigning blade market leader, with a 44.2 percent share, according to statistics from IDC. HP follows with 32 percent. The research firm said blade servers accounted for $287 million in the third quarter.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.
Amy Newman contributed to this story.

This article was originally published on Dec 27, 2004
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