IBM said today that it plans to release the first server blades based upon the Xeon processor from Intel by September.
The upcoming Xeon blades are part of IBM's new BladeCenter strategy, which integrates eServer, IBM TotalStorage and networking blades, the company said in a statement.
By using the Xeon processor, which was released in February, IBM said it can make up for the gap in performance among many server blades when compared with larger, traditional servers. Server blades are considered to be more flexible and easy to provision and were first used at Web hosting firms, which needed a large number of servers in data centres.
Vernon Turner, an analyst at IDC, said IBM's timing is good, as most customers are evaluating the technology this year. By the time companies are ready to start purchasing the new technology, competitors will only have just released Xeon-based blades -- and customers will have already seen what the IBM blades can do.
IBM Director, the company's system management software, will be upgraded for BladeCenter, IBM said. Director will also give the blades longer shelf life, Turner said, because "the software is pretty intelligent".
In related news, Intel has announced the brand name for the second version of its Itanium processor. Code-named McKinley, it will be sold as the Itanium 2 processor.