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A Blade That Cuts Both Ways

5:45 PM -- IBM, not content with wooing half of the IT industry to support its blade server push, today teamed up with Walden International to pump cash into its efforts. (See IBM Sharpens SMB Blades, IBM, QLogic Create iSCSI Blade, and Buying Into Blades.)

The $1.6 billion venture firm now plans to invest up to $100 million of its fund in IBM's BladeCenter ecosystem partners over the next five years. (See IBM Forms Blade Community.) Over 50 percent of this investment will be focused on the Asian market, according to a statement released earlier today. (See IBM, Walden Collaborate.)

I can't say that I blame Walden for making this decision -- IBM is currently the blade server leader and has been racking up partners at an impressive rate, with more than 75 firms now signed up to its movement. (See Grows to 60.) With funds like that at Walden's disposal and the blade server market nowhere near maturity, it makes sense to back the favorite.

They are probably over the moon in Armonk. The cash influx can only bolster IBM's position and help the vendor exploit the intellectual property of other software and hardware vendors desperate for a slice of the blade pie.

But, on another level, it looks as if we are moving further and further away from a scenario when blades and chassis systems from vendors such as IBM, HP, Sun, and Dell will be completely interchangeable. (See HP Intros Better Blade Mgt, Sun Delivers Blade Server, and Deploys Dell .) IBM, despite opening up its blade specifications some time ago, has its own blade architecture to push, and, to ensure success, it will gather as much support as possible in its corner.

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