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New IBM Blade Computers Speed Business Data up to Ten Times Faster

IBM BladeCenter High Performance Systems Redefine Use of Computers in Corporate Datacenters (February 14, 2006)
IBM today introduced powerful new blade computing systems that enable data to travel up to 10 times faster than previously possible across corporate networks. The revolutionary new high-performance systems, called IBM BladeCenter H, increase the bandwidth of tiny blade computers, providing businesses up to 10 times the capacity to move data across their networks. The processing breakthrough, made possible by IBM Research, increases the internal capability of the new system by delivering more than 40 Gigabits (Gb) of I/O bandwidth to every blade server.

A blade is a thin computer system that can be pulled in and out of a specially designed chassis, similar to placing books into a shelf. The IBM chassis housing the blades is known as BladeCenter. IBM has the highest blade density of any major computer vendor, fitting 14 fully functioning blades in a chassis.

The BladeCenter H systems introduced today provide a new way to deliver blade technology, by collapsing servers, storage devices, networking infrastructure and security appliances into a single location in the datacenter. They can be used by businesses to run high-performance analytics software and data warehousing applications in industries including finance, retail, healthcare, life sciences and telecommunications.

New IBM blades and switches announced today include:
  • A nine-core IBM Cell blade -- the first Cell-based product from IBM.  Designed for businesses that need the breakthrough capabilities of the IBM Cell BE processor to tackle tasks involving compute-intensive workloads and broadband media applications, the Cell blade is the first multi-core blade computer.
  • A dual-core POWER processor-based BladeCenter JS21 -- the first blade with built-in virtualization capabilities.The JS21 blade offers the industry's top price-performance for companies specializing in bioinformatics, grid computing, retail, manufacturing, and petroleum research. In independent testing, it surpasses competitive systems from HP and others on key benchmarks including Linpack, Fasta, SPECint rate2000 and SPECfp rate2000.
  • An ultra low power Intel-based BladeCenter HS20 -- a dual-core blade  with the industry's best performance per watt, the HS20 helps customers control the cost of power and cooling in their datacenter.
  • The Cisco InfiniBand Switch Module -- a 4X InfiniBand switch from  Cisco and IBM that provides high-speed interconnect capability. The switch module, specifically designed for the BladeCenter H, is four times faster than previous generations.
The new BladeCenter H systems provide crucial investment protection for IBM customers. They are compatible with existing BladeCenter systems and IBM's current blades and switches can be deployed in the new BladeCenter H system.   
 
"With the introduction of the BladeCenter H, IBM has delivered unprecedented system innovation to help clients simplify and improve overcrowded datacenters," said Bill Zeitler, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Systems and Technology Group. "IBM and the growing BladeCenter ecosystem of partners are producing high performance systems that enable clients to tackle big computing challenges in a cost effective and more efficient manner."

FirstMerit Bank, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, serves more than 500,000 household and business customers and processes more than 500 Gigabytes of data each month on their IBM BladeCenter systems, the equivalent of nearly one-half million accounting books.

"BladeCenter is at the core of our data center, allowing us to scale up our computing infrastructure to meet our rapidly growing business demands, which is growing at a rate nearly 20 percent per year," said Dave Samic, senior network analyst, FirstMerit Bank. "BladeCenter and IBM storage virtualization technology have resulted in more than $300,000 in technology and management cost savings through consolidation of physical boxes, increased utilization of system assets and easier management. We're looking forward to implementing some of these new innovative technologies, especially the new ultra low-voltage blade that will provide energy and cost-savings to us."

IBM's BladeCenter is the world's most popular blade computing system, with more than forty percent share of the market and revenue growth of 2,600 percent in less than three years. Since its introduction in 2002, IBM has installed more than 350,000 blades for customers, more than any other computer maker.

Expansion of Blade.org
More than forty technology companies, including IBM and Intel, today announced the formation of Blade.org, with new members, bylaws and workgroups. Blade.org is a collaborative organization focused on facilitating the utilization of blade technology by customers, partners and solution providers.

In July, IBM announced the intent to form Blade.org together with Intel and other industry leaders. New members announced today include Altiris, AMD, Avnet, BladeFusion, Broadcom, Brocade, CGAtlantic, Citrix Systems, Clovis Solutions, Devon IT, Emulex, Force10 Networks, Fulcrum Microsystems, HCL Technologies, IBM, Intel, iVivity, Mazu Networks, Myricom, NetApp, NetEffect, Neoware, Nortel, Novell, OpenService, PathScale, QLogic, Qumranet, Red Hat, Sensory Networks, Server Engines, Stargen, Symantec, Teak Technologies, Tehuti Networks, Universal Network Machines, Universal Scientific Industrial, Virtual Iron, VMware, Voltaire, Wyse Technology and Zeus Technology.

New product and solution offerings have been created from collaboration among Blade.org partners, including the IBM Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure, with its initial offering based on BladeCenter, VMware, and Citrix. Companies including Emulex, Myricom, Server Engines and Voltaire are announcing products today supporting BladeCenter H.

New BladeCenter H Management Tools
IBM today announced new BladeCenter H management tools including:
  • Autonomic management module -- a new Advanced Management Module that manages blades at the chassis level, automating blade management functions previously done manually. The module integrates with IBM Director and Tivoli.
  • Power Executive -- a compelling new power management suite allows customers to evaluate their exact datacenter power requirements and utilize blade power and cooling technologies to enable peak utilization.
  • Extended Integration with IBM System i5 -- An industry-standard iSCSI connection to BladeCenter will enable customers to exploit System i5 virtual storage, networking, and tape resources to help simplify the operations of their Windows Server System infrastructure.
  • Retail store integration -- OS 4690 support allows the IBM Retail    Store Systems controller function to be run on BladeCenter H.
Pricing and availability
BladeCenter H and the Advanced Management Module, which comes standard with each IBM BladeCenter, will be available in March at a starting price of $3,849. The BladeCenter JS21 blade will be available in March at a starting price of $2,499. The new ultra low power, dual-core Intel Xeon-based BladeCenter HS20 will be available in April at a starting price of $1,749.

The Cisco InfiniBand Switch will be available in the second quarter of 2006. Integration of BladeCenter and System i5 is planned to be available for mid-2006. The IBM Cell BE-based blade is planned to be available in the third quarter of 2006.

More information about these new products is available at http://www.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/19198.wss or www.ibm.com/bladecenter.

About IBM
IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions, financing and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of on demand. For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.



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