RealTime IT News

New Blade Servers Forged for Harsh Climes

Eying more market share in the telecommunications industry, IBM unveiled a blade server system Thursday, one designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions.

The eServer BladeCenter T is the Armonk, N.Y. company's latest member of the company's blade server family. Blade servers are thin machines that fit into a chassis. More blades may be added as required to boost computing power on a network. If one fails, another kicks in to replace it so the tasks don't suffer downtime.

According to IBM, BladeCenter is certified for Network Equipment Building System 3 (NEBS 3) and European Telecommunications Standard Industry (ETSI) certified, which are guidelines for products that can handle anything from extreme temperatures to natural disasters such as earthquakes and lightning strikes and fires.

Features in the blades include a Telcom Alarm Panel and air input filtering.

IBM said it is offering the BladeCenter T, which fits into 600mm tracks, beginning June 25 at $7,797 for the base chassis. Customers may then add as many as eight 2-way Intel Xeon blades for $2629 each per chassis, putting a fully loaded BladeCenter T $28,827.

HP and Sun Microsystems also offer NEBS-certified blade servers, which are tailored for wireless and telecommunications applications that require always-on availability.

Though blade server systems have been on the table from IBM, HP, Sun Microsystems and a handful of smaller vendors like RLX Technologies and Egenera for a few years, the public had been slow to snap them up because of concerns about performance power and interconnect technologies.

Common architecture standards for blades remain a barrier to adoption. In order to address the issue, Intel, Dell, IBM and Hewlett-Packard forged the Server Management Working Group last December under the aegis of the Distributed Management Task Force .

As vendors have largely addressed or made progress on these problems, blades have been gaining in popularity, and not only because they conserve power, slide in and out of a chassis easily and cut costs by replacing large servers in certain scenarios.

IBM and its rivals envision the ability to cluster blades for maximum performance. InfiniBand solution providers such as TopSpin have added virtualization capabilities for blades to help vendors maximize their hardware and lure more customers to the table.