Intel, IBM open up switch specification for blades

Royalty-free access to IBM's BladeCenter for any adopter of the SSI spec is aimed at spurring its adoption for low-cost blade servers

Intel and IBM have agreed to open up IBM's BladeCenter switch technology for more server makers to use, part of an initiative to spur adoption of a specification for low-cost blade servers.

"We will be taking the BladeCenter switch specification and opening it up for access, royalty-free access, to any SSI adopter," said Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's Server Platforms Group, during an interview at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei.

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SSI, or the Server System Infrastructure Forum, is an industry group that was established by Intel to define server standards.

Last year, SSI released a draft specification for low-cost blade servers that did not include all of the components required to build a blade server. "The piece, quite candidly, that was missing if you're going to build a whole blade system was the switch specification," Skaugen said.

"This will be the final puzzle piece to complete a full blade system," he said, adding that the final SSI specification for blade servers should be ready by the end of the year.

The SSI specification is aimed at smaller server makers and regional players, such as India's HCL Infosystems and Tyan in Taiwan. The SSI blade specification is designed to reduce manufacturing costs for these companies by setting standards for various components, such as power supplies and motherboards.

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