IBM, partners plan to launch BladeCenter community

IBM, in collaboration with Intel, announced plans to form a partnership around BladeCenter that it believes will drive development around the technology.

Seeking to beef up development and innovation in the blade space, IBM recently announced its intention to form an industry community dubbed Blade.org, to promote development and interoperability around BladeCenter, IBM's blade server product.

IBM said Brocade, Cisco Systems Inc., Citrix Systems Inc., Intel Corp. Network Appliance, Nortel Networks Ltd., Novell Inc. and VMware are some of the companies that have expressed an interest in joining.

Big Blue said Blade.org will enable BladeCenter components manufacturers and software companies to test and interoperate their products on BladeCenter, which they believe will help spur innovations in Voice over IP (VoIP) and security.

According to Charles King, principal analyst for Hayward, Calif.-based Pund-IT Research, the main reason IBM and Intel have joined forces on this project is to push for a common blade architecture that isn't vendor-specific, hoping to drive the market toward commodity devices rather than custom devices.

"[IBM and Intel] have a weird relationship. They work closely together in some areas but are aggressive competitors in the other ways. … The fact that the two of them working closely will help drive blade adoption," King said. "The whole effort is based at driving blade sales through empowering developers to develop solutions. … When you have an architecture, you are trying to expose more commercially, creating an organization like this helps out."

Juhi Jotwani, IBM's director of IBM eServer BladeCenter Alliances, said Big Blue has been able to jump to the top of the blade market with close to a 40% market share, according to IDC. She expects Blade.org to further that cause.

"What we're trying to do with Blade.org is to start on journey to be the most open, and the industry standard for blades. By bringing in key companies that care about future of blades, we can create a group that will allow both big and small businesses, and hardware and software companies, to come through this community, instead of just IBM, to bring solutions to market," Jotwani said. "We think it will allow the industry to innovate, the industry to grow and then IBM to grow."

IBM said it is meeting this week with some of its founding members and plans to announce further details for the Blade.org road map in September.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Luke Meredith, News Writer

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