IBM Announces Blade Migration Center, Targets HP Customers

Program includes a global team of 300+ consultants and a $1,000 discount for enterprises that migrate from HP.

IBM announced this week a new program to assist customers in migrating to IBM’s BladeCenter platform. The company said they have trained more than 300 of their global services team to guide vendors through the process of migrating to blade servers, from assessment to implementation. To sweeten the deal, IBM is offering a $1000 incentive to any customer that migrates from a blade solution purchased from, #2 server vendor, HP.

HP isn’t in the best position to respond this week. Currently quite busy with both a boardmember spying scandal and the company’s own partner show, the HP Technology Forum 2006 in Houston, it will be interesting to see how HP positions their reply. IBM, for their part, believes they have HP over a barrel with messages highlighting compatibility and new products.

“While HP has introduced three generations of blades with no backward compatibility, IBM has offered clients a consistent approach and superior design innovation for the world’s fastest growing server platform and the industry’s leading blade platform,” vice president and business line executive, Doug Balog, said in a statement.

The Blade Migration Center announcement follows recent news that the server vendor had released its first blade product based the high-end Cell Broadband Engine (Cell BE): the BladeCenter QS20. The IBM BladeCenter QS20 is geared toward enterprises with extremely high performance requirements, specifically for graphic-intensive applications in the aerospace, medical, and petroleum industries.

The Cell microprocessor architecture, codeveloped by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM under the “STI” alliance, is so effective at delivering graphics that it will be the foundation of Sony’s next-generation Playstation 3 game console and Toshiba’s high definition television sets. Consumer products aside, the processor also contains a number of features that make is ideal for the high performance computing space, including an XDR memory subsystem.

Another compelling feature is price. The Cell will eventually be produced in such mass quantities that the price point for the chips could resemble processors for commodity PCs with an exponentially larger graphic processing capacity.

Vice President of Linux and Open Source, at IBM, Scott Handy, announced at last month’s LinuxWorld that the company would be working to further integrate Cell support in standard Linux distributions, in addition to releasing Cell developer tools. Linus Torvalds announced to the Linux kernel mailing list in March that Cell support had been built into version 2.6.16 of the Linux kernel.

Bryan Richard is the Editorial Director of Linux Magazine.

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