IBM, Intel Boost Blade Market Solutions

"We are seeing a lot of interest among system builders to get involved in the blade market," said Pat Buddenbaum, blade server product manager for Intel's enterprise products group. "What we are trying to do with this is to get the networking ecosystems vendors more actively involved in the market," he said. "In turn, that will create more interest among end users to adopt blades in the IT architecture, and that will encourage more systems builders to get involved in the blade market."

New blade designs offer enterprise networks BladeCenter-compatible switches, add-in cards.

Buddenbaum said about 100 Intel system builders worldwide are building blade solutions. "We're slowly ramping our engagement with the product line out to the general channel market to make sure we have the right support resources [for companies] interested and capable of selling this class of products into enterprise accounts," he said.

Brian Deeley, president of Graymar Business Solutions, said the Timonium, Md.-based system builder, is currently selling IBM BladeCenters but plans to start training in November on the new Intel blade platform.

"We are very interested in [white-box blade servers]," Deeley said. "Some customers demand a branded system, but others are happy to get a high-end white box knowing that the product base is coming from Intel. Opening up BladeCenter design specifications will be great."

Sponsored post

Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., and IBM, Armonk, N.Y., are also hoping to help hardware vendors develop BladeCenter-compatible network switches, add-in cards and communications blades for enterprise networks. IBM and Intel will provide free technical support to product developers including design guidelines. Fee-based support will also be offered from IBM's Engineering and Technology Services organization.

"We've achieved a level of leadership in blades beyond our expectations," said Tim Dougherty, IBM's director of BladeCenter marketing. "We feel it's time to open our architecture to others."

Kirk Zaranti, senior vice president of sales for the IBM division of solution provider Logicalis, Bloomington Hills, Mich., said open standards are good for blade sales. "Once standards are established, customers will look to the leader."

JOSEPH F. KOVAR contributed to this story.