IBM Downsizes Blade Enclosure For Small Businesses


Big Blue's new BladeCenter S enclosure holds up to six of IBM's Intel-based, AMD-based, or Power-based server blades. It is small enough to sit on a desktop, and plugs into a 110-Volt electrical socket, making it suitable for small businesses or remote offices, said Alex Yost, vice president and BladeCenter business line executive.

Yost said that small businesses and their solution providers can take the BladeCenter S out of the box, plug it in, and run the included wizard to set up the network and storage connections, all within a matter of a few minutes.

However, he said, since the BladeCenter S accepts standard IBM server blades, customers can run their typical applications with no difficulties.

For storage, the BladeCenter S can have hard drives on the server blades or in a separate enclosure to go with the blade, or attached separately via the DS3200 SAS array, which holds up to 42 SAS hard drives for a total raw capacity of up to 14.4 Tbytes.

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David Stone, vice president of business development at Solutions-II, a Littleton, Colo.-based solution provider, said the introduction of the BladeCenter S fits IBM's server blade roadmap, which calls for bigger and smaller products to become available.

"A lot of customers are interested in blades, but there's no way they can afford 14 blades in an enclosure," Stone said. "The smaller size expands the market."

Regardless of vendor, server blades in general are a fast-growing business, Stone said. "And IBM has been really good about ensuring investment protection with its blades, both in terms of long product life and in terms of making blades available for a wide range of customers," he said.

The BladeCenter S is the fifth in a family of enclosures which also includes the BladeCenter E for energy efficiency, the BladeCenter H for performance, the BladeCenter T for telecom use, and the BladeCenter HT for next-generation network applications.

Specific details of the BladeCenter S, including power consumption, shipping date, and pricing were unavailable. Yost it is expected to ship late third quarter or early fourth quarter, giving customers a chance to evaluate it before it becomes available. He said price will be comparable to similarly configured rack mount servers, but the cost to deploy and manage could be an estimated 30 percent to 40 percent less because of the installation wizard and the lack of interconnect cables.