Egenera is expanding the capabilities of its blade servers, giving its BladeFrame systems greater virtualization and management functionality and adding blades running AMDs Opteron processor to its lineup.
These moves are the latest by the Marlboro, Mass., company to help make running data centers easier for customers, said Robert Dutkowsky, chairman, president and CEO of Egenera Inc.
"The reason why we are still around is that we have simplified the complexities in data centers," Dutkowsky said. "We are still 18 to 24 months ahead of the competition."
Egenera offers high-end "stateless" blades—which hold no disks, just a processor and memory—and virtualization software designed to give businesses a flexible IT infrastructure in a utility computing environment.
The bulk of its Processing Blades are based on Intel Corp.s technology, and last year officials said they were developing a two-way system that can run Intels Xeon processor with EM64T technology, enabling the chip to run both 32- and 64-bit applications.
The company this week is announcing a sales and marketing alliance with Intel Corp.s rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., that will include rolling out two- and four-way Opteron-based blades. The Opteron chip can run 32- and 64-bit applications.
At the same time, Egenera is unveiling Version 4.0 of its BladeFrame architecture, which includes the blades and chassis as well as the companys PAN Manager software. The enhancements are designed to enable users to more easily build a utility computing infrastructure.
The upgrades include giving the customer the ability to modify a servers configuration without having to shut the server down.
The platform will also support VMware Inc.s GSX Server virtual machine technology and, through new chargeback capabilities, will let users put system data into an XML file, which is important in hosting environments that bill customers.
There is also support for the SCSI-2 standard and EMC Corp.s PowerPath software, and an improved GUI for easier manageability.
Rob McCormick, chairman and CEO of managed hosting company Savvis Communications Corp., in Herndon, Va., applauded both the Opteron move and the software enhancements. McCormick said customers—in particular, those running compute-intensive tasks such as databases—have been asking for Opteron systems for almost six months. Now, Savvis will be able to offer them some time in the second quarter, McCormick said.
In addition, manageability improvements such as VMware support and chargeback capabilities will give Savvis greater flexibility in what it can offer customers.
"We will be able to accurately bill customers for their usage, rather than through a flat rate," McCormick said. "[The upgrade] allows you to subdivide blade resources using VMware and accurately charge back to customers for what theyve used."