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IBM Feels The Heat

Heat problems associated with SCSI hard drives in IBM's eServer BladeCenter are slowing the vendor's march into the sizzling blade server market at a time when rival Hewlett-Packard is also turning up the competitive heat.

While IBM said its blade server business through the second quarter was up more than 140 percent from the year-earlier period, solution providers say they can't satisfy customers who require dual SCSI drives on BladeCenters without sacrificing blade server density because of potential overheating.

"We've tried to get some customers to boot off the SAN so they don't even need drives [in the BladeCenter], but some applications require dual local drives crunching numbers," said Joe Vaught, COO of PCPC, an IBM Business partner in Houston. "When that happens, we are at a standstill."

Vaught says an order with one customer for close to 5,000 IBM blade servers equipped with dual SCSI drives is on hold until the problem is resolved. He explained that IBM currently offers a daughter card on BladeCenter that allows a customer to run dual SCSI hard drives, but that option reduces the number of blades that can be used from 14 down to seven.

"You don't gain density when you do that, and it's not an option," Vaught said. "Everybody is out of room. We have to get this SCSI thing fixed, and when we do, it will really drive business."

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