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IBM Brings Efficiency -- and Quiet -- to the Front Office


IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that it will make its BladeCenter system for smaller firms available with an “Office Ready Kit” designed to help optimize the platform to run in an office environment. Built to help smaller clients cut their power use and maximize office space, the Kit provides a datacenter in-a-box that clients can locate virtually anywhere in the office.

The Office Ready Kit will enable clients to reduce energy use by up to 25 percent, cut noise in the office by as much as half and run BladeCenter S desk-side, helping maximize space in the front office.

engineers take on H-P blade technology in this side-by-side comparison of IBM BladeCenter S and HP c3000.

The Kit for BladeCenter S drives efficiency through:

Built-in air filters that help block dust – which could contaminate internal server components and affect reliability – from entering the system;
A noise attenuator that muffles sound exiting the system, reducing system noise to 60 decibels – the equivalent of a quiet conversation;
Extra space for future growth built-in, enabling the system to support components like storage libraries or power supplies as business needs evolve.

Tests conducted at IBM’s state-of-the-art acoustic lab in Raleigh, North Carolina show that when used with the Kit, IBM BladeCenter S is a full 10 decibels quieter than the HP c3000.

“Listening tests have judged a 10 decibel difference to be twice as loud, which is significant,” said Dr. Noral Stewart, President of Stewart Acoustical Consultants and a member of the National Council of Acoustical Consultants. “For this reason, IBM BladeCenter S is the better choice for any office or work environment that requires normal spoken communication.”

The Kit has space for servers, storage and backup as well as keyboard, monitor and mouse in a single lockable enclosure, providing clients an integrated, secure package that can be configured by a business partner and rolled into their business. When locked, BladeCenter S becomes a complete, contained datacenter in-a-box.

IBM previewed BladeCenter S in June, making it the industry’s first blade computing system designed to help smaller firms simplify the management of technology needed to operate a small business -- from servers, to phone systems and antivirus applications -- in a single system. BladeCenter S is “right-sized” to sit in an office environment, plugs into a standard 110 volt power outlet, and manages storage and up to six blade servers at a time. BladeCenter S can help reduce the 25 to 45 servers used by an average mid-size company by up to 80 percent.

1-2-3 Storage
BladeCenter S also includes “1-2-3 Storage,” an automated, three-step set-up tool that gives clients access to the sophisticated type of storage used by enterprise companies without the need for storage expertise.1-2-3 Storage helps clients reduce storage set-up time from 30 minutes to two minutes.

IBM blade servers use solid state drives, which are as much as three times as reliable for local blade storage and up to 87 percent more energy efficient than some mechanical hard drives.

Also, with more than enough storage for the average small to medium sized business built right into the system, clients can save tens of thousands of dollars on external hardware costs. Built-in storage will also allow clients to grow their storage use gradually along with the business.

“BladeCenter S was designed with the requirements of smaller firms in mind. With its ability to fit into an office as well as its ease of use and installation, this is not a blade system turned on its side or chopped in half to just look like a small business solution,” said Alex Yost, vice president of IBM BladeCenter. “IBM is radically expanding the blade market to enable a significantly broader set of customers to leverage the integration, flexibility and ease of management blade computing brings to help improve their competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

BladeCenter S in the Store
In addition to smaller firms, BladeCenter S is an attractive solution for businesses operating branch offices, such as retailers or financial institutions. IT administrators at headquarters can easily pre-configure hundreds of blade systems and ship them out the door knowing an office employee will be able to simply plug a system in and power it up.

Pricing and Availability
IBM is now taking orders for the BladeCenter S system, which will be available in December 2007. BladeCenter S starts at $2,599, which includes power supplies, fans, rack rails and a DVD/CD combo drive. This is at least $2,000 less than the closest current comparable competitive offering.

Clients can purchase BladeCenter S with the Office Ready Kit, officially called the IBM Office Enablement Kit, on pre-configured with the integrated storage, blade servers and switches best for their business. The integrated solution will also be available through the IBM Express program as well as IBM Business Partners.


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