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IBM taunts SMBs with new blade box

Put it on your desk. We dare you

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IBM later this year plans to dish out a "desktop" blade box for small- to medium-sized businesses.

The BladeCenter S chassis eats up 7U of rack space and only has room for six blade servers. That compares to IBM's big business package of 14 blades in a 9U chassis. As mentioned, however, the Blade Center S box doesn't demand a rack at all, if customers want to plop the system down on a desk. Best of all for SMBs, the chassis plugs into a standard 110V outlet instead of requiring 220V.

You'll, of course, want some high-end noise canceling headphones and protective clothing if you actually plan to run this as a desktop unit.

IBM has taken the liberty of announcing this system now even though it won't ship until the fourth quarter. That could be because Big Blue needs something jazzy to discuss after ceding the blade server lead to HP.

According to IDC's latest data - and we know you trust them - HP took 41 per cent of the blade market in the first quarter versus 35 per cent of the market for IBM. HP's sales grew 49 per cent year-over-year thanks to its newish c-Class chassis that seems to have had a lasting impression on Dell and Sun Microsystems.

IBM figures SMBs will use its new box to handle a wide variety of tasks, including anti-virus, VoIP, e-mail, back-ups and trusty file and print services. While more expensive than rackmount gear, the BladeCenter S system should lessen the cabling and networking headaches faced by hard-pressed SMB admins.

We'll spill some more ink on the box when it arrives. ®

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