IBM Broadens BladeCenter Ecosystem

More Than 100 Companies Receive the IBM, Intel Open Specification in First Three Months; IBM Continues to Drive Innovation in the Blade Industry

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ARMONK, NY - 17 Dec 2004: IBM, the leading blade vendor, announced today that more than 100 companies have attained the BladeCenter open specification since Intel and IBM announced it on September 2. This milestone shows that IBM is advancing the blade industry, creating business opportunities for companies while broadening the IBM eServer BladeCenter ecosystem.

The open specification grants a no-charge license to the design specifications for developers and IBM Business Partners of BladeCenter. The rapid rate at which companies have signed up to develop and build BladeCenter-compatible networking switches, adapter cards and appliance and communications blades for enterprise networks proves just how eager companies are to participate in the rapidly growing blade segment. By 2007, blades will account for one out of every four servers sold, according to IDC estimates(1).

"IBM's efforts to establish a broader portfolio of third-party value-add products have paid off," said Jeff Benck, vice president, IBM eServer BladeCenter. "IBM is opening new business avenues for leading-edge companies. In addition, customers can now more seamlessly integrate BladeCenter-based deployments into enterprise customers' IT infrastructure."

Since December 2002 when IBM and Intel jointly brought IBM BladeCenter to market, IBM has focused on creating an open ecosystem called the BladeCenter Alliance Program. The BladeCenter Alliance Program has more than 300 IBM Business Partners globally porting their software and solutions on the industry-leading BladeCenter platform.

"At Hummer Winblad, our top priority is speeding the successes of our portfolio of companies," said Doug Hickey, partner, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. "We recognize that the open design of IBM BladeCenter can help our start-ups, such as Scalent, quickly connect their software solutions to the on-demand world. IBM BladeCenter's open hardware specs are speeding technology innovation."

Among the 100 companies that have received the specification are well-known developers including Emulex Corp., Ranch Networks and Tarari.

Emulex is using the specification to develop Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs), which provide high performance SAN connectivity for IBM BladeCenter. "The decision to open up the specification enables Emulex to satisfy a growing customer demand for our HBAs within IBM BladeCenter environments," said Mike Smith, executive vice president of worldwide marketing, Emulex Corp. "Product development efforts are well underway and we are positioned to meet end-user demand by first quarter 2005. Emulex HBAs designed for IBM BladeCenter feature the same market-leading capabilities as our other HBAs -- including high performance, firmware upgradeability and driver compatibility across our entire product line. These features enable customers to seamlessly migrate to IBM BladeCenter utilizing Emulex SAN connectivity solutions."

"Ranch Networks is very excited that IBM has opened up the BladeCenter specification," said Brian Allain, president of Ranch Networks. "We are leveraging this opportunity to create a Network Control Option Blade that will allow IP Telephony Service Providers to dynamically control security, Quality-of-Service, and other policies on a per-call basis. Building on IBM's BladeCenter platform and the associated IBM Global Services will greatly assist Ranch Networks to scale up and meet the deployment needs of even the largest Telecom Service Providers."

"Tarari creates specialized silicon for high speed Content Processing, and we have a strong emphasis on accelerating XML processing. By creating the BladeCenter Open Specification, IBM has made it possible in an open and extensible manner to have our technology integrate tightly with the BladeCenter system. This greatly helps with time-to-market and quality of the combined solution," said Randy Smerik, president and CEO of Tarari, Inc. "Tarari's Content Processors when combined with the BladeCenter platform allows enterprise customers, network appliance vendors, and ISVs to have a very fast platform for their XML and Web Services processing."

IBM's innovation in the blade market has translated into substantial market leadership. IBM is the number one blade vendor worldwide with 46.7 percent of the revenue share market, growing share faster than any other vendor, according to Gartner(2).

IBM and Intel will provide technical support to assist product development, including design guidelines and hands-on, fee-based support from IBM's Engineering & Technology Services organization.

More information about IBM eServer BladeCenter is available at