IBM brings clustering to BladeCenter By Carly Suppa IDG News Service (Toronto Bureau)

TORONTO (05/20/2003) - IBM Corp. announced a new plan on Wednesday that it says will take the guesswork out of building Linux clusters.

The company has introduced pre-packaged blade clusters, which leverage IBM's 1350 Linux/Intel cluster technology on its eServer BladeCenter blade servers. BladeCenter can hold as many as 84 blades per rack.

BladeCenter presents a dimension of density into the cluster space that has not been available before, according to David Turek, vice president of IBM Deep Computing.

"We can deliver a lot more bang for the cubic foot of computing that a customer has available," Turek said.

The combination of BladeCenter with the 1350 cluster technology presents benefits on two levels, he said. As BladeCenter is essentially a cluster itself, which can be stacked or coupled with 1U or 2U servers on a larger rack, also part of the same cluster, customers can choose to mix and match these building blocks in the best way to suit their needs.

"In addition, when we talk about integration, we mean substantially more than what might be conveyed in the mind of an ordinary person," Turek said. "What we really do is put in place everything that a particular customer is looking to deploy."

IBM plans to take on the grunt work, building the entire customer configuration rather than shipping a piecemeal solution. Before shipping, IBM said it will add a software stack to the cluster, install the switch technology and test the system.

"At that point, we'll take our software off of it, box the cluster up as an entity and ship the integrated whole out to the customer," Turek said.

With the pre-packaged, pre-configured clusters, IBM said the solution is ideal not only for classic cluster customers such as universities and government labs, but also for the life sciences, business intelligence, digital content creation and financial services markets.

The IBM Cluster 1350 with eServer BladeCenter will be available June 6. Pricing was not immediately available.