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IBM Adds 'Shared Storage' to BladeCenter S

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) said today it is adding storage networking capabilities to its BladeCenter S system, providing enterprise-level capabilities in a "datacenter-in-a-box" package that's designed to appeal to small and mid-sized businesses and branch offices with limited IT resources. IBM says it is making it easier to set up and manage shared storage and cutting the cost by 30 to 40 percent.

IBM claims the BladeCenter S can handle all of the needs of a business, from servers to phones to business applications, and reduce the 25 to 45 servers used by an average mid-sized company by up to 80 percent. "We now can provide in one BladeCenter system all of the servers, all of the storage, all of the security, and all of the network and switching," Scott Tease, worldwide marketing manager of IBM's BladeCenter, said in an interview. "It is ready to run. You just plug it in."

The biggest enhancement is the addition of SAN capabilities in a blade system that previously only offered direct-attached storage. "We've added a full-featured SAN that provides top-tier functions," Tease said. "There are two- or three-node clusters for email apps, and it can do VMware and Vmotion and Microsoft clustering and move storage images around. For the first time, we've removed the major hurdles to deploying high-end storage."

The upgraded system offers up to 9 TBytes of usable storage and includes a BladeCenter Start Now Advisor, to help customers through the setup process, and a BladeCenter Service Advisor, to flag potential problems and alert IBM and the reseller. The package will be sold through resellers and systems integrators.

Two customer references in IBM's announcement show the kind of customer the company is targeting. Harley-Davidson Motor Co. plans to send one to its Talladega test facility in Lincoln, Ala., where it has no dedicated IT staff. It will be configured and managed from the company's headquarters. The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center in Queens, N.Y., plans to install one to consolidate and virtualize its IT environment. "Blade Center S has the low power and small footprint needed to fit within our existing server room," said system support engineer Henry Dong in a statement.

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