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When CRN Test Center reviewers first set out to examine midmarket blade servers, much of the rhetoric in the space revolved around claims and counterclaims by giants IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. Each company claimed to offer the best solution for midmarket blades, and the invective between the two was more heated than the racks of dense servers each could plug into a wall.
With all of the "anywhere, anytime" bravado IBM and HP had placed on the challenge of a head-to-head review, we invited both companies to participate. In the end, IBM took us up on the offer. HP was a no-show.
"Due to the success of our BladeSystem c-Class products in the marketplace, personnel who would normally work this review cannot be diverted from customer commitments," an HP spokesman told us.
But IBM didn't have to stand alone after all. We also invited Super Micro Computer Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Dell Inc. to participate. Sun declined. Dell and Super Micro quickly accepted.
After examining all of the products, reviewers came to one conclusion: Each vendor provides a stellar offering that VARs can use to deliver strong value to midmarket customers. Each system provided screaming performance, nice energy efficiency and a self-contained chassis architecture. Each kept heat generation very low and ran much quieter than expected.
There were no rats' nests of wires. There were no malfunctions. What there was was a compelling reason for VARs to start talking to midmarket customers about their next-generation data centers and what a blade solution could do.