IBM is looking to blade servers to help it sharpen its SMB strategy.
Big Blue's BladeCenter product manager tells Techworld that the company will debut a smaller blade for SMBs later this year. Though he doesn't divulge product specs, he hints strongly that the new product will hold seven servers rather than the usual 14.
Perhaps the biggest strength of the new IBM product, implies the article, is that its chassis will accept the same servers and management and connectivity modules as the IBM chassis for larger enterprises. So the upgrade path will be easy and inexpensive.
IBM faces strong competition for SMBs from rival HP, which recently announced plans to import some of its SMB marketing best practices from Europe to the U.S. in hopes of selling them advanced server and storage technologies.
IBM has shown willingness to tweak its line of servers to better meet the needs of SMBs, however. Late last year, Big Blue and 3Com rolled out a server platform designed to simplify VoIP by consolidating management functions onto a single server, even ones already deployed for other purposes.
IBM has some ground to cover if it wants SMBs to become its biggest customer base within five years, as CEO Sam Palmisano predicted at a recent conference.