What do you do when you're the leader in the blade server market? Try extending that lead by building specialized blades for various interests and markets.
Big Blue has done that, building a blade server that pairs the IBM BladeCenter HS21 blade servers running Red Hat Linux with the company's Information Server data-integration software.
Information Server Blade lets customers consolidate and move chunks of data to avoid the memory overload and bottlenecks associated with SMP systems, said Rob Vrablick, IBM Information Server Blade strategy and planning manager.
Information Server Blade employs Tivoli Workload Scheduler Load Leveler so independent workloads can be managed in parallel across blades within grid clusters. New blades can be snapped into a grid to add more processing power as needed.
By stitching the server blades together with grid software, it lets customers perform massive consolidations in a much smaller footprint and in faster fashion, enabling the machine to consume less power than the traditional SMP often uses to do information consolidation and data warehousing tasks.
Information Server Blade.
For example, according to Vrablick, IBM said a large information integration company that processed 7 million records per hour using an SMP system was able to boost that number to 54 million records an hour using a grid with Information Server Blade. Moreover, processing time dropped from eight hours to five minutes. Infrastructure set up time went from 26 to three days.
"They were able to do more workload in less time and reduce their budget capital expenditures by 75 percent," Vrablick said.
Using Information Server Blade is hardly inexpensive, but it is still likely to be less costly than traditional SMP environments.
Vrablick said a minimum configuration, which includes a 1U management module, and three blades, is priced at $330,000, with one year of maintenance thrown in for good measure. Pricing for an additional blade with software is $90,000.
Those that buy Information Server Blade needn't go it alone, as IBM is offering its usual army of professional services for support. IBM's Global Financing is also now offering a BladeCenter chassis via lease for up to 60 months at low payments. Blades that are regularly updated or replaced with new technology can be leased for 24 to 36 months, IBM said.
Blade servers are a high-growth market, according to market research firms Gartner and IDC. Through 2006, IBM was the market leader in blade server revenue with a 41.1 percent revenue share. HP finished the year with a 32.5 percent share.
However, for the first quarter of 2007, IDC said HP held the No. 1 spot in the blade market with 40.9 percent market share. IBM held the No. 2 position with 35.2 percent of the market.
This article was originally published on internetnews.com.