Motorola will start selling IBM's blade servers as part of a new scheme between the two to steal some of the telecoms market from HP and Sun, according to IBM.

IBM's BladeCenter, BladeCenter T and xSeries rack-optimized servers will be offered as part of Motorola'sApplication-Enabling Platform, an integrated platform of hardware, software and services for telecommunications companies.

IBM, in turn, will adopt an upcoming middleware standard from Motorola, called, memorably, the Service Availability Forum Application Interface Specification. IBM will use it in a new suite of telecommunications products, called the eServer Integrated Platform for Telecommunications, to be announced today.

The Integrated Platform for Telecommunications will be composed of BladeCenter servers running carrier-grade Linux and will include support from IBM Global Services, IBM said. An extended version of the product combined with WebSphere, Tivoli and DB2 middleware will also be available.

The IBM blades Motorola will sell can be used for both enterprise and telecommunications applications. "The BladeCenter T is NEBS (Network Equipment Building System) compliant and the chassis itself is specially hardened for telecom, aerospace and defense purposes. It will withstand things like earthquakes, fires, water damage," an IBM spokesman said.

In August, IBM also plans to ship a new NEBS-compliant rack server designed for telcos called the xSeries 343. It will include two 2.4GHz Xeon processors, 12GB of storage and two 144GB Ultra 320 SCSI hard drives. Pricing for the xSeries 343 is not yet available.

The BladeCenter T systems, first announced in March, are scheduled to begin shipping on 25 June. The blade chassis for these systems will cost approximately $7,800. The HS20 blade servers that fit into the BladeCenter T are priced starting at $2,279 per dual-processor blade, IBM said.

BladeCenter T is expected to begin supporting IBM's JS20 Power PC-based blades in July or August, IBM said. Dual-processor JS20s are priced starting at $2,699 per server.