IBM aims desktop BladeCenter at small firms

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IBM aims desktop BladeCenter at small firms

USA - IBM has previewed its new BladeCenter S, the industry's first blade computing system designed specifically for smaller firms.

Big Blue hopes that the new S blade will simplify the management of technology needed to operate a small business, offering servers, phone systems and antivirus applications in a single system.

IBM reckons the new BladeCenter can help reduce the 25 to 45 servers used by an average mid-sized company by up to 80 per cent, eliminating the need to own and operate a data centre.

The new system is intended to run in a typical office environment and is designed to sit on a desktop. It plugs into a standard power outlet, and manages storage and up to six blade servers at a time.

As many smaller and mid-sized companies have access to a limited IT department the BladeCenter S is designed to minimise IT administration.

The system can be configured in a similar way to how a consumer would set up a home PC.

Following a wizard-based installation interface a user can plug the blade servers into the system, plug the system into a power outlet, and launch a management tool that enables easy select-and-click configuration via an express install.

For businesses with branch offices, such as retailers or financial institutions, IT administrators can easily pre-configure hundreds of blade systems to operate in the same manner, and ship them knowing that an employee can simply plug a system in and power it up.

"Growing businesses with constrained resources have been grappling with ways to improve their competitive advantage without increasing costs," said Alex Yost, vice president and business line executive of IBM BladeCenter.

"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."

Industry analyst Gartner reported recently that mid-sized businesses run 25 to 45 servers on average to power business functions.

Approximately 10 of these are typically appliances designed to perform a single or specialised set of server functions such as storage, security and web serving.

The BladeCentre S is designed to integrate many of these functions, which can help businesses dramatically reduce the physical server sprawl associated with typical data centres.

It could also reduce the number of IT staff needed to manage the applications essential to day-to-day business functions.
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