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Egenera Seeks IPO

Blade server startup Egenera Inc. is ready to go public (see Egenera Files for IPO). Late yesterday, the vendor filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to trade its common stock on the Nasdaq under the symbol EGEN.

Egenera has not priced its shares nor set an IPO date, and the company isn't commenting beyond the filing.

On the face of it, Egenera's stradding favorable and unfavorable conditions. Blade servers are heating up. These devices shrink traditional data center machinery, including servers and storage arrays, into modules in a chassis. The box uses virtualization and management software to assign computing resources as needed to applications. The design aims to consoldate data centers and advance the spread of grid and utility computing -- areas on many companies' strategic radar (see Grid Networking, page 7).

But Egenera's up against competition from three big players: Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), each of which has made blade servers a pet project (see Grid Networking). Egenera's actually aiming to displace these players in high-end data centers in the areas of financial services, healthcare, and Internet computing. Mission impossible?

So far, Egenera's held its own. The Marlborough, Mass.-based startup claims greater efficiency and virtualization in its BladeCenter system, which is based on a diskless virtual server that comprises only processor and memory. These claims have been embraced by several significantly large customers, including: AOL, Cambridge Health Alliance, Credit Suisse First Boston Corp., Emory Healthcare, Goldman Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Lehman Brothers, and Savvis Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: SVVS).

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