However, both RLX and Transmeta began to influence the industry. Server OEMs eventually began adopting bladed form factors, and established chip makers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices soon were producing their own low-power chips.
Less than a decade later, both companies are gone-RLX was bought by Hewlett-Packard in 2005, particularly for its Control Tower management software, and Transmeta went out of business last year-but their influence can be seen throughout the industry. Essentially every systems OEM offers blade servers, and HP officials are aggressively expanding the blade form factor throughout the company's product portfolio.
RLX had eventually adopted Intel processors for its blades, but in 2004 the company had dropped its hardware business to focus on its software offerings, in particular its Blade Tower management solution. Hipp had left RLX before HP bought the company.
Hall, who said he and Hipp had worked closely together at the Blade System Alliance since August 2006, said Hipp had continued his interest in startup technologies after leaving RLX.
He worked with a number of companies that were trying to get started through a business incubator in the San Jose, Calif., area, Hall said.
"He had a huge reputation as a go-to guy for these companies trying to come out of the incubator," Hall said.
He also was working with others in the alliance to improve blade technology. Hall said he and Hipp were close to publishing a whitepaper on the use of SSDs (solid-state drives) in blade servers. Blades use traditional disks, which take up a lot of room, Hall said.
Solid-state technologies were seen as expensive and unreliable, but had improved in recent years, to the point where Hipp and others saw the benefit of using them in blade servers.
Some OEMs have been pushing the use of SSDs in their systems. Sun Microsystems officials last year said they were going to put SSDs throughout their hardware line.
Hall said Hipp was a natural inventor who wanted to be on the cutting edge.
"He always wanted to be in that accelerated gear, taking technology and making it better than it always had been," Hall said.