26 April 2002 Systems giant IBM has finally unveiled its blade server strategy. The announcement follows launches by Dell earlier in the month and Compaq in January.
The IBM eServer BladeCenter will include the eServer rack, storage and IBM Director systems management software. Director will enable systems administrators to look after hundreds of blade servers from a remote location and, for example, enable them to set-up the servers to automatically bring resources online and off-line to meet changing demands.
In addition, IBM Director will offer users such features as predictive failure analysis to help reduce downtime; drag and drop management via a single graphical user interface (GUI) console; and automated blade image recovery, which IBM says will help speed up return to service after a crash.
The blades will initially feature Intel 32-bit Xeon DP microprocessors, with 64-bit Intel Itanium and IBM Power reduced instruction set computing (Risc) microprocessors available later. Other built-in hardware components will include gigabit Ethernet switches to ensure fast network access; and hot-swap cooling and power systems to ensure that there is no single point of failure.
“The benefit of the blade architecture is reduced cost and complexity,” said Tom Jarosh, vice president of business development and blade servers at IBM.
While competitors are targeting their blade server offerings at specific vertical markets, Jarosh said that its eServer BladeCenter will have a much broader appeal because of its configurability.