HP will begin offering integrated Cisco Systems switches within its BladeSystem product line. It currently offers HP and Nortel Networks Ethernet switches and previously said it would offer a Brocade Communications Fibre Channel switch beginning in the second quarter.
To capitalize on the fast-growing blade-server market, Dell will offer an assessment service that includes customer-site visits, data-center evaluations to determine thermal conditions, and recommendations for optimized blade implementations.
But Dell president and CEO Kevin Rollins says his company is in the position to move blades beyond a niche and into the mainstream. "The promise that blades would bring better density and better value is now starting to be realized," he says. "Up until we launched our product, blades were actually very expensive, and they didn't provide a customer payback."