IBM To Bring High Performance, Reliability And Openness To Blade Systems

IBM Vision of Integrating Server, Storage and Networking in Blade System

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Armonk, NY - 25 Apr 2002: IBM today announced plans to introduce a powerful blade system that delivers high performance computing in an ultra-dense server. The new IBM eServer BladeCenter system will incorporate eServer, IBM TotalStorage and networking blades that easily integrate with today's datacenter management.

"The benefit of the blade architecture is to reduce cost and complexity -- not performance and reliability. We intend to incorporate IBM's high-performance computing power, self-managing technology, and mainframe-class reliability features into our blade systems," said Tom Jarosh, VP Business Development and Blade Servers at IBM. "As a pioneer of other important modular and high density architectures in our mainframe, UNIX, and Intel-based systems and clusters, we are committed to developing a very robust blade platform."

Most vendors are solely targeting blade server offerings at edge applications and specialized markets like telecommunications and service providers; however, IBM will deliver a sophisticated platform with a much broader appeal for enterprise customers in addition to specialized markets.

In a market that is expected to reach $3.7 billion by 2006 [1], customers will use thin, plug-in blade servers for consolidating IT infrastructures in such areas as e-mail and collaboration, e-commerce applications, Linux clusters and many other enterprise applications. The need for a high degree of reliability is magnified in blade systems where potentially hundreds of servers are stacked like books on a shelf in a single small space.

IBM eServer BladeCenter systems will feature leading processors, including Intel Xeon DP and Itanium, as well as IBM POWER. Customers will be able to reduce costs, increase density and decrease set-up and configuration time.

Using IBM Director, the industry's most open and powerful system management software, customers will be able to program their blade systems to automatically bring resources on- and off-line to meet changing demands. IBM Director will also allow IT professionals to perform the broad spectrum of system management tasks on hundreds of blades from a remote location. Sophisticated self-healing technologies will enable blades to recover from both hardware and software failures.

The density of blade systems means more critical enterprise applications are consolidated onto a single rack. IBM eServer BladeCenter will provide a high degree of reliability and availability that customers will require including: a resilient infrastructure with no single point of failure; hot swappable components which provide fast and safe replacement of nodes; and fast server deployment.

IBM's first eServer BladeCenter implementation will be in the Intel processor-based arena. By harnessing the power of Intel's Xeon™ Processor DP chip, this new platform will deliver the performance required to run enterprise applications. IBM BladeCenter will deliver twice the density of current 1U server without sacrificing performance.

IBM eServer BladeCenter will support Linux® and Microsoft Windows operating systems, as well as associated applications. IBM's Intel-based blade offering will be available worldwide in the third quarter of 2002 through IBM and its business partners.

"IBM's BladeCenter offering with Intel Xeon processors is an enticing deployment platform for customer's enterprise applications. We are working closely with IBM in a number of areas in this emerging enterprise computing market segment," said Abhi Talwalkar, VP of Intel's Enterprise Platforms Group.

IBM is also working with industry leading technology companies such as Broadcom, Citrix, D-Link, Intel, Microsoft, Nortel, QLogic, Sphera, SteelEye and its own DB2, WebSphere®, Lotus, and Tivoli brandsto deliver innovative business solutions working toward the vision of an open industry standard. This alliance program will provide customers many choices to create flexible, custom business solutions. In fact, more than 50,000 Independent Software Vendors' (ISV) applications will be able to run on IBM's BladeCenter. IBM's BladeCenter offerings will be Infiniband-ready and will use existing Internet Protocol standards to deliver the benefits of open architecture and facilitate the ability of industry partners to participate.

"The value proposition of IBM's BladeCenter solution is so clear and compelling to customers that Broadcom now invests in SystemI/O™ core logic, switching, transceivers, controllers, and software solutions specifically targeted for this exciting new segment," said Raju Vegesna, President and CEO of ServerWorks, a Broadcom Company. "By working with IBM on server blades we are able to achieve new levels of performance, density, reliability, and serviceability."