IBM announces blade server for SMEs

Company says the BladeCenter S can reduce the number of servers used by SMEs by 80 percent but won't give price details until the fourth quarter

IBM has announced a new blade server aimed at SMEs, but it will not be available until the last quarter of this year. The company will give no details on price until then.

The BladeCenter S can reduce "the 25 to 45 servers used by an average mid-size company by up to 80 percent," the company said in a statement. But, despite enquiries, the company would not comment on the price, a crucial factor for any SME considering its IT strategy.

The BladeCenter S is designed to fit on a desktop and can plug into a standard power socket. It can fit up to six blades but IBM released no details on capacities at the announcement on Wednesday.

However, it is likely that the new blade server will support both Intel and AMD processors, as well as IBM's own Power processor architecture, since all are options on IBM's blade architecture.

For storage, users will have the choice of drives mounted on the blades or a side enclosure. There will also be the option of using blades without disk drives and using external storage.

Whatever the final decision on the options that IBM will make available, the company is predicting a good future for blades among SMEs.

According to IBM's Alex Yost, vice president and business line executive for blades: "IBM's introduction of a purpose-built BladeCenter for small offices and distributed locations will now help smaller firms get the simplification and integration that the biggest companies have been getting from blades, in a package that is optimised for their business."

Such details as have been made available should not be taken as gospel. IBM made clear in its press announcement for the promised BladeCenter for SMEs that "IBM's future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice".

BladeCenter S

IBM's BladeCenter S is designed to fit on a desktop and plug into a standard power socket