HP, IBM Boost Blade Servers

Units feature first dual-processor, internal SCSI storage.

The dot-com bust may have crushed the initial interest in blade servers, but major computer makers are now championing the designs by touting ultradense systems with more muscle.

Hewlett-Packard Co. this week will introduce the industrys first dual-processor blade, highlighting the push by top-tier vendors to offer designs that are more robust than those introduced last year by startups such as RLX Technologies Inc.

Likewise, IBM is preparing to release a dual-CPU blade system this fall, called BladeCenter, which will feature Intel Corp.s most powerful 32-bit server processor, the Xeon.

HP and IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., are each planning to further power up those blades next year with new designs capable of accommodating up to four processors per blade, as well as more powerful 64-bit processors often relied on to run companies most-business-critical applications.

HPs new ProLiant BL20p series can accommodate 48 blades with 96 CPUs in an industry-standard, 6-foot rack originally designed to hold up to 42 single-CPU servers. Thats far fewer than the more than 300 blades rivals can pack in the same space.

However, officials at HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., contend their blade design offers several advantages, including being processors that operate twice as fast as most current blade offerings and internal SCSI drives, a contrast to many other blade systems that lack any type of internal storage option.