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The blades are rack-mounted servers that are installed vertically. This would enable customers to install hundreds of processors in a single rack, said Jane Wright, an analyst at Gartner.
Compaq, HP and IBM outlined their plans at Comdex for high-density server blade products. HP is the first of the main server manufacturers to bring its blade technology to market.
Early next year, Compaq is expected to launch its single-processor QuickBlade server modules, which the company claimed can house "hundreds of server blades" within a standard rack. Compaq said its server would deliver power savings of about 25% over standard 1.75" rackable servers.
IBM is looking at both hardware and software for blade technology.
The company expects to deliver "virtual blades" early in 2002. IBM said this would allow a server blade system to be partitioned internally, which means the server could offer both hot-swappable hardware components and virtual software partitions that could be re-allocated or fail-over on the fly.