IBM agrees to resell RLX high-density servers

RLX Technologies Inc. said Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with IBM Corp. that calls for IBM to resell RLX's new high density, low-power servers and supply some of the server components.

The new RLX System 324 blade-type Web servers, which can be used by Web-hosting firms and Internet data centers, will feature Transmeta's low-power Crusoe chips.

Monday, Compaq Computer Corp. and chip maker Intel said they are building an ultradense server designed to offer users more computing power using less energy, taking up less space and costing less money.

Compaq will use Intel's ultra low-voltage processors in its new hyperdense servers. Compaq said it expects its QuickBlade servers to ship later this year.

RLX, a Woodlands, Texas-based start-up, was founded four years ago by former Compaq Computer Corp. executive Gary Stimac, who is CEO of RLX. The company employs a number of other former Compaq workers.

RLX said it is the first company to ship a Windows-powered Web Server based on Microsoft's Server Appliance Kit 2.0, which was released Monday. RLX said IBM will supply components for the server, including IBM disk drives.

The new server design will allow up to 336 server blades to be installed in a single, industry standard server rack, the company said. Currently, 42 servers can be stacked in one rack.

RLX said its new System 324 servers aren't affected by the heat constraints of traditional servers and each server blade requires only 15W of power to operate, delivering five to 10 times the power efficiency of previous products.

"The System 324 shatters today's Web server density barriers and power usage requirements," said Stimac in a statement. "With our preloaded software solutions, our customers can have a Web server up and running in minutes. The impact of the new RLX ServerBlade design will be felt for years to come and will truly redefine server economics."

The RLX System 324 chassis, preloaded with Windows-powered Web server software and other features, sells for US$4,999.

Gordon Haff, an analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston, said this type of server will be a big deal in the next 12 to 18 months.

"This is the logical next step from standard rack-mounted servers," he said. "The key to deploying them is [dealing] with the power and heat units, and that's where the Transmeta chip comes into play. When they first came out, some vendors couldn't even power all the systems they could fit in a rack. With the next generation of denser servers, [vendors] are realizing that looking at power and heat has to be an integral part of the design. They are basically building the systems from the ground up."

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