IBM will bulk out its blade server line this year, adding faster processors to existing systems and delivering a new design that packs more computing power in a smaller space.
Over the next few months IBM will upgrade its BladeCenter HS20 which uses 2.4GHz Xeon processors from Intel with 2.6GHz and 2.8GHz processors, said IBM director of product marketing Jeff Benck. IBM will also roll out four-processor blades in the second half of the year and will, eventually, sell blade servers based on its own Power processor.
IBM has perceived a need for both 32-bit and 64-bit blades, and will release a four-processor Intel-based blade that will fit in the existing BladeCenter chassis. Customers will be able to stack seven of these four-processor blades in a 7U (12.25 inches) high space. IBM would give a release date, saying only that the blades will appear later this year.
IBM will also introduce a blade server based on its Power processor, which is used in its Unix server line. Unlike most servers with the Power chip, it will offer these blades with the Linux operating system first and then follow with its AIX version of Unix.
Many companies are now selling blade servers, which are thinner, stripped-down versions of rack servers. Customers can take advantage of the blade server's small size by packing hundreds of them into a rack, trimming the size of their data centre. The blade server chassis designs also make it possible for the systems to share networking and power cables, reducing the cabling nightmare often faced by system administrators.
Last week, Sun Microsystems announced both a 64-bit blade server that uses its UltraSparc processor and a 32-bit blade with an Intel-compatible processor.