Blades hack through server market

Blades hack through server market

Sales expected to quadruple by 2011

Global blade server shipments will nearly quadruple from 2006 to 2011, experts predicted today.

Research firm iSuppli said that worldwide blade server shipments will increase to 2.4 million units in 2011, representing 21.6 per cent of all server shipments.

"Blade servers will be the fastest-growing segment of the server market during the next few years," said Peter Lin, senior analyst for compute platforms at iSuppli.

"This will be down to the advantages of high density, flexibility, power savings and simplified manageability, coupled with efforts from key blade server technology vendors to promote the interoperability of their products."

Lin added that, with growing enthusiasm for virtualisation and consolidation, the industry could be considered to be back-tracking on its blade server deployments.

This could be attributed to a realisation that ad-hoc deployment of low-cost hardware on a one-application/one-server basis is not the right direction for infrastructure design and management.

Virtualisation could therefore be considered as a correction of this strategy, according to Lin.

ISuppli believes that if the progress on virtualisation, product interoperability and multi-core low power consumption microprocessors proceeds well during the next few years, the blade server market will capture greater from other form factors.

Blade servers are a very young technology. RLX Technologies, now part of HP, shipped the first blade server in March 2001. But disappointing sales led a number of vendors to not refresh their initial blade server product lines.

However, HP and IBM continued to introduce new generations of blade server products that were increasingly suitable for enterprise clients.

As the blade server platform began to gain traction, Dell and Sun Microsystems rejoined the market at the end of 2006.