Intel has kicked off its blade server drive for system builders with the launch of its Xeon-based blade server kits.
Designed to make building blade servers easy for smaller partners, the Intel Server Compute Blade SBX44 will be non-branded and is aimed at "more advanced system builders", according to John Bainbridge, Intel's UK and Ireland channel sales manager.
At the time of launch 15 European OEM partners will supply the kits, including Microtronica, Hammer, Arrow and Compusys in the UK.
The SBX44 comes as a chassis, configured with a number of blades - storage and compute - leaving system builders to insert additional components.
The blade kits, formerly code-named Hampton, are based on technology developed by IBM for its BladeCenter line of eServers. Features including systems management, blade density and cooling functions are combined with multiprocessing Xeon chips.
"This is a white-box technology that allows system builders to integrate the kits with other technology depending on what they want to offer," Bainbridge said.
The market for blade servers is small, but it is growing faster than the server market as a whole. Analysts are tipping it to be a big opportunity in the near future.
Bainbridge added: "The blade market is embryonic at the moment, but it represents a good opportunity for the channel to address the needs of both enterprise and SME customers.
"The density of offerings allows them to build a very wide range of offerings for different types of customers."
Microtronica managing director Les Billing said: "There is an opportunity here, and there is a lot of interest in blade technology among system builders, particularly those in the enterprise market."
Bainbridge said: "We expect the market to grow considerably over time, and I guess, within the first six months, if we have six to 10 of our larger system integrators on board it will be a good sign."
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