Dell Looking For Bigger Blade Share

Just as some analysts believe the market for blade servers is about to heat up, Dell moved forward with its most significant
modular
server, unveiling the PowerEdge 1855 for powerful
computing at a lower cost.


Dell sees the PowerEdge 1855 as the perfect answer for clients who need
enterprise-grade computing in a smaller form factor and lower price
point
than 1U rack servers.


According to Bruce Kornfeld, director of enterprise marketing at Dell,
the
1855 supports up to 10 servers in a 7U chassis and is geared for
companies
that rely on large Web farms and high-performance computing clusters.


While that demographic is fairly common among Fortune 500 or larger
companies, these businesses don’t necessarily have much data center
space
and are preoccupied by cooling constraints. This makes the 1855, a
smaller,
denser product over traditional rack-mounted systems, attractive,
Kornfeld
said.


For an idea of the the power, Kornfeld told internetnews.com
Dell
blades provide up to 43 percent greater performance per square foot,
with up
to 62 percent more blade servers than Dell 1U servers in a 42U rack. As
with
the Dell 1655 blade, the Round Rock, Texas-based concern’s new machine is
managed
by the same OpenManage software that runs Dell’s PowerEdge servers.


There are also new modules that blend chassis and blade management
functions
in a single interface. Such consolidation of rack cables with blades
can
reduce the number of cables by up to 70 percent, a key for cutting down
on
data center clutter, Kornfeld said.


“Customers are looking for great server technology, better density and
savings in power and cooling to ease management; but they’re not
willing
to pay a premium for blade servers over traditional 1U and 2U rack
servers,”
Kornfeld said.


Supporting Windows and Linux operating systems, the PowerEdge 1855 is
driven
by two-way Intel Xeon EM64T processors. It also features PCI Express
interconnect technology, up to 16 gigabytes of DDR2
memory,
hot plug drives and redundant power and cooling features.

Available now, the chassis pricing for the 1855 starts at $2,999, with
blade
servers selling for $1,699 apiece. A half-populated blade enclosure
starts
at $11,494 while a fully populated enclosure costs $19,989.

Key to Dell’s enterprise success, Kornfeld said, is the company’s
ability to
“drive standards further and further into the data center.” He said
Dell is
the “only business that is completely focused on driving standards.”

IDC believes the market for blade servers will reach grow at a compound
annual growth rate of 106 percent through 2008, topping out at $7.2
billion.

It makes sense that Dell is
making this aggressive move. IDC analyst John Humphreys told
internetnews.com a new product from Dell is “pretty warranted,” especially since Dell only holds about 3 percent of the market in
terms of total revenue.


“Customers will view this as further evidence that blades are a market
place
that is viable. The Dell endorsement means there is volume there. The
1655
got into a market place early and that doesn’t work in the Dell model.”

Dell rivals IBM , HP and Sun
Microsystems
all sing similar songs these days. Blade server
market
leader IBM claims to be the most open with its BladeCenter system, a
product
it launched
for
developers in September.


One of the first major vendors to have success with blades was HP,
although
several smaller vendors such as Egenera and RLX Technologies also
blazed the
blade trails, albeit with less clout. Sun uses blades for special
interest
areas such as storage.

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