Intel, IBM launch Blade Standards Group

The goal of the group is to extend the work Intel and IBM have been doing for the past year to create blade server standards. The organization counts Brocade, Cisco Systems, Citrix, Network Appliance, Nortel, Novell and VMware, a unit of EMC, among its founding members. The vendors have pledged to promote adoption of blade servers beyond the enterprise market into both the SMB market as well as into specific vertical markets such as point-of-sale systems and health care.

Intel plans to help energize this effort later this week with the release of a low-voltage Xeon processor series designed specifically for those types of applications, said Kirk Skaugen, Intel general manager for the Server Platforms Group.

"The blade server area in terms of integration and thermals has proven to be one of the most challenging environments," Skaugen said. "But over the coming year, you will see performance-per-watt-generated increase dramatically.

Intel will deliver the processors in a set of unbranded building blocks that custom system builders will be able to customize to expand upon the blade server market.

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As yet, IBM and Intel have not extended an invitation for rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices and Hewlett-Packard to join prior to its formal launch.

"You need to start with a base group of vendors before you can open something like this up," said Susan Whitney, general manager for IBM eServer xSeries.