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IBM's BladeCenter Attracts $100 Million Venture Fund, 10 Gbps Switch, New Partners

Pushing to make its BladeCenter architecture a standard blade-server configuration for the industry, IBM on Monday unveiled several product enhancements, a 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch, and a host of new partners. A third-party venture capital fund also disclosed that it plans to spend $100 million on companies building products and systems to work with BladeCenter.

"What we are seeing unfold is something that is not dissimilar to what happened early in the PC era, which is the potential for a de facto standard to emerge around blade servers," says Tim Dougherty, IBM's director of BladeCenter strategies.

IBM has announced that 17 new companies have joined its organization. The companies include Bull, Lenovo, Symbol Technologies, and Wal-Mart, which have pledged to create products and services to support IBM's BladeCenter blade-server platform. Since it was created in February, the group has grown to 75 members.

In addition, San Francisco-based venture capital firm Walden International announced it plans to invest up to $100 million in projects of BladeCenter ecosystem partners over the next five years. More than half of the money will go to the Asian market. "I am a big believer in the future of the data center built on blades," said Lip-Bu Tan, founder and chairman of Walden, in a statement. "Blades are solving fundamental problems in the data center, such as power and cooling issues, space restrictions, and provide an excellent platform for virtualization."

Dougherty says the growth of membership and Walden's $100 million commitment "provides a very strong statement about the attractiveness of this platform."

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