IBM and Intel team up on blade servers

IBM and Intel – two of IT’s heaviest hitters – are joining forces to develop a product that could save e-commerce companies a substantial amount of money.

The two corporations recently announced their plans to design modular server solutions, or blade servers, that can be plugged

in to allow users to service their computer applications.

But, unlike other servers that have been on the market for the last year, IBM and Intel promise their collaboration will produce a bevy of broader ranging products.

“Out of the collaboration will come many products for years to come,” said Philip Brace, director of marketing for Intel Enterprise Products Group.

“What is significant about it [blade servers] is you have two industry leaders that are collaborating with the same vision to produce a common road map.”

With their collective heads – and pocket books – firmly linked together, Intel is hoping to make some product announcements as early as this year.

But Brace is quick to point out that this collaboration is “a multi-year, multi-generational arrangement.”

In other words, consumers can expect the new product to save them money.

Brace added that exactly how much is still up in the air.

Any customer who uses multiple rack servers is probably running into the problem of duplication. Blade servers will help users avoid duplication by using a common infrastructure, says Brace, which in the long run should save corporations a pretty penny. The servers themselves will also take up less space than conventional servers because they can be neatly stacked. Users will be able to plug-in blades to run e-commerce applications, firewalls, clusters, e-mail and many other 24/7 enterprise applications.

Now how much these new blades will cost has not yet been determined, and won’t be until they come off the assembly line.

That could at least be another month, says Tim Dougherty, director of IBM’s blade server strategy. Customers can expect to see a steady stream of blade products from both corporations over the next two years, but Dougherty promises these products will be completely different from what’s already out there.

“Users will be able to integrate networks, storage, application and servers together in one construct,” said Dougherty, adding that users will be able to save 20 to 50 per cent on power and cooling alone.

“In the construct we are talking about users are going to be able to do things from a single console.”

Dougherty says IBM could have produced blades on their own, but because the company was already working with Intel on blades, it only made sense that the two major corporations team up to get the products out to their respective customers sooner.

“In 2003, the next big wave in this industry is going to be blades,” says Dougherty

“The combination of Intel and IBM will help accelerate that.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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