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Egenera has overhauled its blade server line with a new chassis and faster kit, continuing a rare push as a successful hardware start-up.

Last week, Egenera rolled out the BladeFrame ES - a smaller version of its BladeFrame chassis aimed at departments and remote offices of larger companies. To complement the chassis, Egenera also started shipping its two processor Processing Blade with Intel's latest 3.20GHz Xeon processors.

Egenera has targeted financial services companies since day one, giving it a focus that has helped the small company compete against the likes of IBM and HP. Now, however, it believes more customers are warming to its compact server designs and has a large customer win to back up the claims.

Egenera today announced a deal with America Online, which will see the ISP use BladeFrame systems to power the MapQuest service. AOL cited price/performance advantages of running Linux on blades as a major reason for the move.

RLX and Egenera were two of the leaders in the blade market, rolling out product well ahead of the big boys. But over the last year, HP and IBM have come on strong with blade sales and are putting more pressure on the little guys.

Still, Egenera says its financial services customers are staying loyal. The company has expanded its presence in Europe and Asia to have direct contact with their customers' branch offices, and the new BladeFrame ES is a response to demand being generated out of these regions.

"We have customers that have very large data centers in London, for example, but smaller ones in Singapore and Hong Kong," said Susan Davis, VP of product marketing at Egenera. "The new chassis was a way of taking our technology down to the department level offices there."

The standard Egenera BladeFrame chassis takes up an entire 42U server rack, packing tons of horsepower in a relatively small space. The new BladeFrame ES chassis comes in quite a bit smaller at 13U. It can hold six of Egnera's blades, which come in two processor and four processor flavors. The two processor Xeon blades range in speed from 2.4GHz to 3.20GHz, while the four-way systems run from 2.0GHz to 2.80GHz.

Like most blade chassis, the BladeFrame allows servers to share power supplies and networking, which helps cut down on cables that admins must keep track of.

Egenera is hoping to see more success in financial services but also wants to attract government, ISP and telecom customers. ®

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