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HP said the new OpenBlade specification extends and complements the existing CompactPCI (cPCI) standards. It adds features designed for enterprise computing including Fibre Channel connections to SAN and NAS storage and remote management capabilities through the use of an on-board management LAN.
The company has also announced it has signed up more than 100 partners in its channel programme for blade servers. According to HP the HP Blade Server Alliance Program is designed to deliver complete, reliable, end-to-end blade IT systems. Partners on the programme include Intel, Oracle and Microsoft. The company said it has seen a five-fold increase in the number of partners since the programme and HP's standards-based blade server products were announced two months ago.
The blade server is a new form of rack-mounted server in which the server slots vertically into a standard rack. A special chassis is used to hold the blade servers, and this is slotted into the rack. One of the issues identified by industry experts is the lack of standards in the blade server market, leading to proprietary technology.
A report from Dataquest recently said that users would eventually demand a standard for blade servers. However, since manufacturers are only just beginning to understand how blade servers might be best deployed and used, the report suggested that users wait until the market is more mature before purchasing blade server products.