IBM announced the early success of opening the IBM eServer BladeCenter specification and new models packed with technology breakthroughs to further extend the system's enterprise capabilities.
Forty-nine companies have received the BladeCenter open specification since Intel and IBM's joint announcement on September 2. The open specification grants free and open access to the design specifications for developers and partners of BladeCenter. In the first month of opening the specifications, IBM quadrupled the number of partners who have received the BladeCenter specifications in the last two years.
IBM also unveiled six new models of its BladeCenter and BladeCenter T compatible systems with increased speed, power management and OS support to excel in today's rigorous datacenter environment.
IBM's Intel Xeon-processor EM64T-based BladeCenter In a design breakthrough, IBM is now providing the capability of adding two small form-factor SCSI drives internally to the five new HS20 models of BladeCenter systems based on the 2.8 GHz to 3.6 GHz Intel Xeon-processor with 64 bit extensions. This allows the BladeCenter chassis to fit 14 SCSI-based blades far exceeding the density any other such offering in the marketplace. As a result, the new SCSI drives can provide up to 85 percent more speed and up to 83 percent more capacity than the prior IDE drives. Also, customers benefit by now being able to mirror each blade's operating system, simultaneously attaching to a storage-area network to run high-availability applications.
IBM has added new I/O expansion flexibility to the BladeCenter HS20, allowing customers to add two hot swappable SCSI disk drives while doubling the number of Ethernet (8) or fibre channel (4) port connections to each blade.
"It is exciting to see how far BladeCenter has evolved since its introduction as a unique, well-designed architecture two years ago," said Jeff Benck, vice president, IBM eServer BladeCenter. "By adding internal SCSI drives to BladeCenter, we expect more customers to tap BladeCenter to take on mission- critical functions that demand the reliability of SCSI. BladeCenter has matured into a solid ecosystem of servers, management, switching, software, and solutions, helping customers excel in the on-demand world."
IBM's POWER processor-based BladeCenter
IBM also announced significant enhancements to its POWER processor-based BladeCenter systems, offering clients higher performance and the ability to run IBM's most advanced UNIX operating system - AIX 5L V5.2.
The new eServer BladeCenter JS20, now available with 2.2GHz POWER processors, offering more than 37 percent improvement in processor speed compared to the previous offering with 1.6GHz processors. It offers clients more performance to handle commercial workloads such as file and print serving, Web serving and collaboration in addition to high performance computing (HPC) numeric intensive workloads on UNIX and Linux OS platforms. In addition, Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) instructions provide exceptional performance for compute-intensive floating point applications. Clients can take advantage of this feature by using two new IBM compilers, the IBM XL C/C++ Advanced Edition V7.0 for Linux and the IBM XL Fortran Advanced Edition V9.1 for Linux.
Applications that can take advantage of SIMD include bioinformatics and proteomics in the life sciences industry as well as seismic, digital imaging, and financial services applications. Enhancements to the BladeCenter JS20 systems are designed to meet the growing client demand for high-performance, 32-bit and 64-bit UNIX and Linux commercial and technical computing applications.
Significant advances in power and cooling IBM is introducing power management software, PowerExecutive, the first product in a rapidly evolving roadmap focused on reducing the costs of power in the datacenter. PowerExecutive is part of the BladeCenter management module and helps IT teams better manage blade power consumption by:
- evaluating each blade's actual power usage according to its power-demanding components, such as specific processors and hard drives, to deliver an accurate inventory of a overall power usage to better plan the datacenter requirements.
- reducing infrastructure costs by more effectively managing the combined redundant power systems to run at less than 200 percent.
BladeCenter's superior density and expanded feature set are made possible by its innovative chassis architecture as well as the thermal design itself, called Calibrated Vectored Cooling. As perhaps the industry's most advanced cooling architecture, Calibrated Vectored Cooling optimizes the path of cool air flow through the system. Customers benefit from this compact design with an increased ratio of servers per chassis that cuts the cost of the shared networking infrastructure and further simplifies the solution.
A new module of UpdateXpress software, a powerful update/installation tool for IBM's line of servers, now provides a unified point to update and install all BladeCenter networking switches and modules as well as server components. UpdateXpress offers one interface for easier blade management and is accessed through IBM Director, the awarding-winning BladeCenter systems management software.
Customer successes The momentum of BladeCenter is further demonstrated by these customer success stories from around the globe:
- Cencosud S.A, the leading company in the Argentine and Chilean retail markets, manages a total of 21 Jumbo Hypermarkets, 72 Santa Isabel Supermarkets, 39 Easy Home Centers, 17 shopping centers and 7 Aventura Centers. Cencosud chose BladeCenter due to its ability to reduce costs through hardware reduction, smaller infrastructure and reduced management expenses and because BladeCenter features a built-in Ethernet switch.
- Morneau Sobeco of Canada has been a leader in the design of group benefits, pension, and related compensation plans for more than 40 years. Morneau Sobeco has installed more than 73 IBM BladeCenter systems as Web and transaction servers to provide self-service benefits administration portals for various clients in both Canada and the U.S. Morneau Sobeco assessed similar products from other vendors before selecting IBM.
- Paluani, top Italian confectionery brand, consolidated two systems with disparate high-volume e-business applications onto an IBM eServer BladeCenter system running Linux. Paluani chose IBM BladeCenter because of its superior technology and IBM's commitment to Linux. The solution provides Paluani's sales force with more reliable access to the online ordering system and enables Paluani to handle sudden increases in demand -- without a large upfront investment. By consolidating two separate platforms, Paluani also simplified its infrastructure, reducing maintenance time, staff and associated costs as well as the company's total cost of ownership. As a result, Paluani's order systems can now cope with the peaks and valleys of its confectionery business, giving customers prompt, high- quality service, helping Paluani secure brand loyalty.
- Rustoleum of Vernon Hills, Ill., manufacturer of rust-preventive, general purpose, decorative, specialty and professional paints, was one of the first IBM BladeCenter customers in 2002. Rustoleum consolidated the workloads of six Compaq servers onto one BladeCenter system to continuously deliver financial data from SAP applications and an Oracle database to about 1,000 employees. Rustoleum chose BladeCenter for its lower power consumption, redundant configuration and easy attachment to its SAN through IBM's DS4000 storage system.
Availability and Pricing
General availability of the BladeCenter HS20 system is November 12. Starting price is $2039. General availability of the BladeCenter JS20 system is October 29. Starting price is $2699.
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