By Joseph F.
- 5:05 PM EST Fri., Mar. 14,
Blade servers could become one of the
fastest-growing IT industry segments this year, solution
providers say, as these products begin to expand beyond the
telecom and high-performance cluster markets to grab an
increasingly larger share of the enterprise server market.
Until now, the adoption of blade servers has been hampered
by how new they were and because they were introduced during a
down economy, said Joel Gilberts, vice president of Manchester
Technologies, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based solution provider.
But, according to Hunt
Russell, sales manager at solution provider Evolving
Solutions, Hamel, Minn., cost-of-ownership issues should make
blade servers attractive to clients with multiple Terminal
Services, Citrix or Exchange servers. These clients could show
enough cost savings in power, cooling and space expenses to
loosen budgets constrained by the poor economy, he said.
"A lot of IT directors and CTOs are getting bonuses for
saving IT budgets," Russell said. "They need to find some ways
to reduce costs. %85 Say they have a maintenance contract on
legacy two-year-old or three-year-old servers. We could throw
blade servers into a lease and get the lease expense to be
less than the monthly maintenance cost for the legacy
While currently small, the blade server market is expected
to grow quickly in the next few years. Sales jumped to about
$95 million in 2002, compared with $10 million in 2001, according
to IMEX Research. By 2005, the market is expected to
explode to more than $1.4 billion.
Blade servers aimed at the commercial space now make up only
about one-quarter of the blade server market in revenue terms,
but they should account for 40 percent of the market by 2005,
at which time the commercial space will exceed the telecom
space, according to IMEX Research.
IMEX Research estimated the cost per year of running
336 blade servers, including the costs of acquisition, electricity,
deployment and provisioning, to be about $389,000, compared
with $707,000 for 1U rack-mount servers.
volume leader in the blade server market, is focusing on the
commercial market this year, said Sally Stevens, director of
marketing for the company's blade servers. HP recently
introduced two-way and four-way blades and is including
on-board SAN connectivity as a way to move further into the
commercial space, Stevens said.
Starting next year, HP's blade servers will include such
performance features as TCP/IP offload and the capability to
address data across multiple servers, said Stevens. By 2005,
HP is planning to deliver automatic blade server provisioning,
which enables a server to be dynamically switched from one
application to another.
Bob VanSteenberg, CTO and vice president of platform
development at Houston-based RLX Technologies, said that in
the future increased blade server processor power, memory, I/O
capabilities and storage capabilities will drive the products
deeper into the commercial marketplace. RLX next month will
ship blade servers with the Intelligent Platform Management
Interface (IPMI), an Intel management standard under which
each blade has an independent processor on board for
monitoring, provisioning and other management capabilities, he
Sun Microsystems this month will start shipping SPARC blade
servers with its Solaris operating system, and will roll out
Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon mobile processor versions next
quarter, said Souheil Saliba, vice president of marketing for
the company's volume systems products.
IBM, meanwhile, is working with Nortel Networks to build an
advanced switch for content management, quality of service and
load balancing into its blade servers by year-end, said Tim
Dougherty, IBM's director of blade server strategy.