IBM Unveils BladeCenter System Built For SMBs - InformationWeek

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IBM Unveils BladeCenter System Built For SMBs

The system is designed for businesses operating branch offices, such as retailers or financial institutions.

IBM on Thursday unveiled a BladeCenter S system built to operate a small business from a single piece of desk-side hardware.

The latest addition to the BladeCenter S product line is right-sized to sit in an office environment and plug into a standard 110-vote power outlet. The system includes storage and up to six blade servers to handle computing needs ranging from servers to phone systems and antivirus applications, IBM said.

The new system is a competitor to Hewlett-Packard's c3000 BladeSystem, dubbed "Shorty," which was unveiled last month. Similar to IBM's BladeCenter, the c3000 also plugs into a wall socket and is available with integrated storage. It can come prepackaged with business applications from Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and others.

IBM and HP have each focused on simplicity of deployment and management for their respective systems. IBM claims its 60-decibel system is 10 decibels quieter than the c3000, and has room in the chassis for adding components like storage libraries or power supplies. The IBM system also includes an automated, three-step setup tool for storage.

IBM introduced the BladeCenter S in June as a blade computing system designed for smaller firms. The latest version of the product, however, was built especially for businesses operating branch offices, such as retailers or financial institutions.

"With its ability to fit into an office as well as its ease of use and installation, this is not a blade system turned on its side or chopped in half to just look like a small business solution," Alex Yost, VP of IBM BladeCenter, said in a statement.

Pricing for the new BladeCenter S, scheduled to ship in December, starts at $3,298, which includes power supplies, fans, rack rails and DVD bay. Pricing for the c3000 starts at $4,299.

Besides HP and IBM, Dell also has been focusing on simplifying its sever and storage products. The computer maker last month launched under its "simplifying IT" initiative a storage area network array called the PowerVault MD3000i, which targets small and mid-size companies.

Offering storage and servers in a single system like HP's and IBM's is meant to simplify SMBs' computing environments. Convergence was the motive behind Sun Microsystems' announcement this week that it would combine its storage and server teams into a systems group focused on the mixing of computing, storage and networking.

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