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Making The Cut In Blade Servers

Intel's strategy to get system builders to jump into the blade market may heat up an already white-hot market, but white-box builders say the vendor may face an uphill fight.

Last month, Intel signed deals with Arrow Electronics, Bell Microproducts and Avnet to distribute its blade technology to some 40,000 North American system builders. Intel will provide system chassis and chassis infrastructure, components and power supplies to system builders through the distribution partners, said Patrick Buddenbaum, blade server product line manager at the company.

However, system builders point out that the blade market is more targeted at data center-type applications and enterprises, and it is not yet ready for the small to midsize businesses that are the domain of most white-box solution providers.

Blades are more attractive to enterprises that need to quickly add capacity, one VAR says.

"We're not really interested in the blade market right now," said Mike Carbone, vice president of operations at MicroNet Associates, a white-box solution provider in Hopkinton, Mass. "Most of our customers are government and education accounts, and they tend to buy stand-alone systems or rack-mounted servers."

Carbone pointed out that blades are more attractive to enterprises who quickly need to add capacity. He said he might consider blades in the future if Intel's offerings remain generic and there is a clear upgrade path.

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