What do you do when you’re the leader in the blade server market? Try
extending that lead by building specialized blades for various interests and
Big Blue has done that, building a blade server that pairs the IBM
BladeCenter HS21 blade servers running Red Hat Linux with the company’s Information Server data-integration software.
Information Server Blade lets customers consolidate and move chunks of data
to avoid the memory overload and bottlenecks associated with SMP systems,
said Rob Vrablick, IBM Information Server Blade strategy and planning manager.
Information Server Blade.
Information Server Blade employs Tivoli Workload Scheduler Load Leveler so
independent workloads can be managed in parallel across blades within grid
clusters. New blades can be snapped into a grid to add more processing power
By stitching the server blades together with grid software, IBM lets
customers perform massive consolidations in a much smaller footprint and in
faster fashion, enabling the machine to consume less power than the
traditional SMP often uses to do information consolidation and data
For example, according to Vrablick, IBM said a large information integration company
that processed 7 million records per hour using an SMP system was able to
boost that number to 54 million records an hour using a grid with
Information Server Blade. Moreover, processing time dropped from eight hours to
five minutes. Infrastructure set up time went from 26 to three days.
“They were able to do more workload in less time and reduce their budget
capital expenditures by 75 percent,” Vrablick said.
Using Information Server Blade is hardly cheap, but still likely to be less
than traditional SMP environments.
Vrablick said a minimum configuration, which includes a 1U management
module, and three blades, costs $330,000 with one year of maintenance thrown
in for good measure. Pricing for an additional blade with software is
Those who buy Information Server Blade needn’t go it alone, as IBM is
offering its usual army of professional services for support. IBM’s Global
Financing is also now offering a BladeCenter chassis via lease for up to 60
months at low payments. Blades that are regularly updated or replaced with
new technology can be leased for 24 to 36 months, IBM said.
Blade servers are a high-growth market, according to market researchers
Gartner and IDC. Through 2006, IBM was the market leader in blade server
revenue with a 41.1 percent revenue share. HP
the year with a 32.5 percent share.
However, for the first quarter of 2007, IDC said HP held the No. 1 spot in
the blade market with 40.9 percent market share. IBM held the No. 2 position
with 35.2 percent of the market.