IBM is tailoring its blade server marketing strategy to address vertical and niche markets, including small businesses.
The company claims to be the number one blade server supplier ahead of HP, Sun Microsystems and Dell. Up to now, most blades sold have gone into chassis systems located at large companies’ central datacentres.
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Doug Balog, vice-president and business line executive for IBM BladeCenter products, said the company would be increasing its efforts in targeting the products at small companies and larger companies’ distributed computing environments.
IBM developed the BladeCenter platform in partnership with Intel, which is expected to soon launch its quad-core processor line, codenamed Clovertown. AMD plans to launch its own quad-core processors around the middle of next year. IBM is also expected to ship blades equipped with these processors when they are ready.
Analyst IDC says the blade server market is currently worth around £1.6bn, and will be worth around £5.2bn by 2010. IBM has so far sold around 500,000 blades fitted in about 50,000 of its blade chassis boxes since entering the market in 2002.
IDC says IBM has installed 22% more blades than HP, and IBM now says that blade sales currently represent around 25% of its x86-based sales per year.