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Intel blade servers get multi-vendor support

Oct 02, 20033 mins

* Intel’s new blade server hardware supported by Veritas, Qlogic and others

Intel, Veritas and Qlogic last week announced blade server hardware and software.

Intel said it would make blade servers – codenamed Hampton E – for distribution by white-box manufacturers and other system vendors. The company will manufacture Xeon DP-based blades (SBXL52) in a configuration that includes a blade chassis, management software and a network switch.

Intel’s blade servers are the result of a co-development deal it reached with IBM a year ago. As many as 14 dual-processor blades will fit in a 7U rack-mounted chassis.

Intel says it will ship a four-processor Xeon MP-based blade, codenamed McCarran, by year-end.

These are not the first blades Intel has introduced. Two years ago the company rolled out blades for carriers that were based on the PICMIG form factor. As with HP, which initially introduced PICMIG blades to the market, the larger blade did not take off. Both companies subsequently dropped their PICMIG blades.

Intel has priced its chassis at $2,800, its Gigabit Ethernet switch at $1,900, and its Fibre Channel switch at $9,500. Its dual-processor blade, the DP Intel Xeon Processor Server Compute Blade, is $1,000.

Veritas last week announced provisioning software for Intel’s Enterprise Blade Servers and its Itanium processor-based servers that will let users more easily deploy servers, applications and BIOS-level upgrades.

The software, which will be branded Intel Deployment Manager by Veritas OpForce, is based on Veritas’ acquisition of Jareva Technologies. Intel will bundle it with the Intel blade servers and Itanium processor-based servers it ships. The version of the software Intel will ship will only operate under Windows and Linux.

Provisioning software like OpForce lets IT managers automate the installation, configuration and deployment of applications and operating systems on servers. It eliminates the manual and repetitive configuration of servers, often lessening the impact of errors introduced in the process.

Further, six systems companies – including Bull, Ciara Technology and ProMicro – will build blades using Intel’s technology. Ciara’s blade will have IDE or SCSI hard disk bays and as much as 2G bytes of ECC memory.

Storage company Qlogic announced that its SANbox Fibre Channel switches and its SANblade host bus adapters interoperate with Intel’s blades for attachment to storage-area network data.

IDC says that blade server sales are ramping up. By 2007, the research firm estimates that 35% of the servers in the U.S. will be blades. HP right now is the leader in blade server revenue. It leads with a 32.9% market share, according to company claims.