28 January 2002 PC maker Compaq will today announce the release of its new blade server product line, the BL series. Codenamed “QuickBlade”, the BL Series is essentially an entire server on a single board, designed to enable organisations to squeeze as much computing power into as little floor space as possible.
The first model in the Compaq BL series, the BL10e, is a single motherboard with an energy-efficient 700 megahertz (MHz) Pentium III chip, up to 1 gigabyte of memory, two Ethernet ports, and a hard disk. Twenty of the devices can be mounted side-by-side within a rank-mountable chassis 5.25 inches tall. A single blade will start at $1,599 (€1,860), with a 10-pack costing $15,191 (€17,670).
The e-Class line that Compaq unveils today will shortly be followed by a more powerful p-Class line that will include dual-processor, and later, four-processor blades, say Compaq executives.
Compaq’s blade server launch follows a similar move by the company’s prospective buyer, Hewlett-Packard (HP), which launched its HP Blade Server bc100 in December 2001. Rival systems vendors IBM, Sun Microsystems and Dell Computer are all expected to launch their own blade server products during 2002.
Analysts at IDC forecast that the worldwide server blade market will be worth about $2.9 billion (€3.37bn) by 2005. However, many believe that it will be a commodity market, in which suppliers will be forced to compete on how cheaply they can manufacture and distribute blade servers.