Compaq joins blade fray

Systems giant Compaq last week rolled out its first ultra-dense server blade, a product aimed at helping IT professionals more easily deploy and manage the Web, gateway, firewall or DNS servers within their enterprises and data centres.

The ProLiant BL e-Class consists of a 3U (5.25-inch) high chassis that contains 20 single-processor Pentium III 700-MHz servers, for a total of 280 servers in a standard full-size rack. Each blade is equipped with 512M to 1G bytes of RAM, a maximum of 30G bytes of inexpensive, internal ATA/100 disk storage, and two 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet connections. The chassis supports redundant and hot-pluggable power supplies, cooling fans and network connections. The servers run Linux or Windows 2000, and the chassis contains a technology that lets Windows or Linux run concurrently in the same enclosure.

The chassis comes with an Integrated Administrator module, which is software that lets IT managers remotely or locally configure the enclosure and the individual servers, significantly reducing the time it takes to deploy the servers, the company claims. Compaq is also offering the ProLiant Essentials Rapid Deployment Pack, which speeds server deployment by letting administrators duplicate system configuration and setup across multiple servers.

During this year, Compaq also plans to announce two- and four-way blade servers that can be used for more compute-intensive enterprise applications.

Available now, each ProLiant BL10e server starts at $1,800; pricing for 10 blades starts at $17,100. The Rapid Deployment Pack costs $120 for a single license or $1,190 for a 10-server license.

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