IBM and Intel Drive Adoption of Open Switch Specification for Blade Servers

Switch vendors can reach a broader set of clients with a single product.

ARMONK, NY and SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- October 23, 2008 -- IBM and Intel Corporation today announced they are extending their collaboration in the blade server market to drive adoption of an open industry specification for blade switches. This will enable switch vendors to maximize return on their research and development by developing products to a single design, reaching more customers with just one product.

Switches are essential components of every blade system, channeling data to and from the server. As part of the agreement announced today, IBM will extend the BladeCenter switch specification for blade servers to the Server Systems Infrastructure (SSI) organization on a royalty-free basis, allowing switch vendors to create one product that works across the BladeCenter and SSI ecosystems and driving more switch products for clients to choose from. The companies also announced plans to work together to establish a third-party Switch Compliance Lab, where the developer community can test and verify their blade server products for BladeCenter and SSI environments.

The announcement today builds upon a history of IBM and Intel collaboration on blade technology -- starting in 2002 with the development of the first BladeCenter servers and continuing in 2006 when IBM, Intel and other industry leaders formed Blade.org, the industry consortium driving open innovation in blade-based solutions that today has over 200 members.

SSI is an industry organization established over 10 years ago to enable server builders to develop compliant and interoperable building blocks for blade, chassis and manageability software technology. The incorporation of the open switch specification into SSI is intended to broaden the market for switch module vendors as they collaborate on SSI-specified blade switch solutions with Intel and IBM. In this segment, Blade Network Technologies, Brocade, NextIO and others have committed their support for the open specification. By extending its switch specification and ecosystem to affiliated members of SSI, IBM is driving greater adoption of BladeCenter-compatible switches.

"The extension of the BladeCenter switch specification and ecosystem to SSI advances open specifications for blade systems," says Alex Yost, vice president of IBM BladeCenter. "Making the switch design in our open BladeCenter specification available to a broader set of vendors demonstrates IBM's commitment to foster openness in the blade server market."

Demand for a common switch specification comes at a time when blade servers are becoming a critical ingredient in IT infrastructure. The availability of the open BladeCenter switch specification to SSI members allows them access to the more than 25 specification-compliant switches on the market today.

"By working with IBM, we have expanded ecosystem support for SSI blade specifications to over 70 vendors," says Kirk Skaugen, General Manager, Server Platforms Group, Intel. "Continued IBM and Intel collaboration will go further to expanding the entire blade server market. This is good for customers who will benefit from increased choice from a breadth of server, networking and storage vendors while enabling each product to maximize return on the R&D invested."

About IBM BladeCenter
IBM has the broadest portfolio of blade offerings in the industry, including five blade enclosures, five compatible server blades and five I/O fabrics with a common architecture that allows clients to mix and match offerings. IBM has also taken a unique approach in the industry by opening up the IBM BladeCenter hardware architecture, which has created market and revenue opportunities for hundreds of companies selling peripherals like network and storage cards, switches and software. Since opening the BladeCenter specifications in 2004, 500 companies have downloaded the specifications for free. For more information about IBM BladeCenter, please visit: www.ibm.com/bladecenter.

About Intel
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom and blogs.intel.com.

About Blade.org
Blade.org is a collaborative vendor and end-user community focused on accelerating the development and adoption of blade server solutions. The organization provides leadership to the blade market and fosters a thriving industry ecosystem focused on delivering valuable solutions to blade computing users. For more information, visit www.blade.org.

About SSI
The Server Systems Infrastructure (SSI) is an industry initiative focused on the provision of design reference architecture and specifications of server systems and power supplies to the developer community. Established in 1998, SSI has over 50 members and 185 adopters consisting of ODMs, OEMs, VARs and Software Developers from around the world. It has published over 45 design specifications to date.