Big Blue BladeCenter Spec a Hit

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.

Emulex, Ranch Networks and Tarari are some of the hardware vendors who 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, which 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
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.

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.

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