IBM Takes Lead in Blade Server Market
IMEX Research believes that by 2007, almost 25% of unit shipments will end up as blade configured servers.
Volume economics - the growth driver for modular servers
UNIX to Linux Migrations to leverage cost effectiveness of open source Linux
A new de facto blade server standard emerges
IBM has made Blade servers as a cornerstone of its x-series (Intel) product line and is heavily pushing its BladeCenter along with larger SMP computers. To mitigate concerns of non-standardization and to leapfrog other competitors IBM chose to parlay its relationship with Intel to create a partnership in which the two companies share technology and development costs for blade server designs and drive a de facto standard. IBM is hoping that the partnership will drive the commoditization of blade server hardware, allowing the company to win the day on its superior software and services. In exchange, Intel got a faster ramp in blade server designs and the blade market and, in turn, allows Intel to drive volume of its Xeon (and later Itanium) processors into higher performance, higher margin enterprise markets.
On the heels of Intel/IBM 7U blade standard, Fujitsu Siemens in Feb 2003 announced its 7U high 2-way BX600 Blade Server boasting features that outshine its competitors in optional features set, to address the midrange Tier-2 & 3 marketplace. Several of the Intel's Blade Server OEMs have started to provide advanced features and storage connectivity options rivaling Intel. In the wings, Supermicro and other manufacturers are getting ready to shortly introduce 7U high versions of blade servers.
Intel spreads its wings in blades
Some sources indicate Hitachi, Unisys and even Dell and giving consideration to a license agreement with Intel for the BladeCenter design in order to accelerate their blade server roadmaps.
Some Asian ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers such as Quanta, Mitac, Arima, FIC etc.) that are the major suppliers of notebook and motherboards to US PC and Server manufacturers are waiting in the wings to jump into the Blade Servers market, as soon as de facto standards crystallize further.
(See IMEX Research Report: Competitive Analysis of Startups
IBM the new leader in Blade Servers
Sun, Dell, and Fujitsu-Siemens entered the market in the tier-1 market segment. (Internet access servers with network throughput-oriented workloads) underestimating the capabilities of multiprocessors used in blades to handle the high-end tier-2 and -3 transaction workloads.
On the heels of success of IBM, all of them are now targeting the high-end blade server market. Fujitsu recently announced its RX-600 high-end blade server – a well-positioned product with excellent features and options. Sun moved to a 2-way product as a precursor to targeting the high-end transaction-oriented blade server.
IBM, on the other hand, has introduced a 4-way server blade and is expanding its blade server product line to Telecom server markets.
Dell is championing the establishment of server management software standards, taking the lead in the recently formed server management group in DMTF organization.
The blade server market will belong to vendors who can corral volume-driven economics inherent in blade servers. The challenge is up to Dell to harness this market with well-featured and positioned products.
About IMEX Research
IMEX is a research and consulting company in technology markets with expertise in the fields of Blade Servers/Modular Computing, Network Storage (NAS/SAN/iSCSI), High Availability systems (Computing and Telecom), and Optimal Four-tiered Computing Infrastructure (Access, Web, Application and DB/Transaction Tiers).
The company tracks technologies, market dynamics and industry directions and provides its clients with market opportunities by market segments, forecasts and shares, insights on enabling technologies and standards, competitive positioning of start ups and incumbent suppliers and their strategies.
IMEX also provides consulting and advisory services in product and
business planning, competitive analysis, product specs and key
feature-sets, go-to-market strategies including pricing structures and
distribution channels (OEMs, VARS/SI, Service Providers, Distributors by
Vertical Markets-Telecomm, Financials, Health Care etc.) as well as due
diligence and recommendations for affiliations and