Walden invests $100M in blade server growth

Venture capital firm to fund development of technologies for IBM's BladeCenter system

A venture capital firm is shelling out up to $100 million to drive worldwide growth of blade server computing, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Walden International, in San Francisco, will invest the money over the next five years into the development of technologies for IBM's BladeCenter system, IBM said Friday. More than half of the money will be targeted at companies with facilities in Asian markets.

IBM also said that 17 new members had joined its Blade.org group, which it formed in February to foster collaboration and development of new blade server technologies. The new members, which include Lenovo Group, NCR, Symbol Technologies, and Wal-Mart Stores, bring the number of associates to about 75.

IBM, along with Hewlett-Packard, owns the majority of the blade-server market, which market research firm IDC expects to grow from about $2 billion in 2005 to $10 billion by 2009.

IBM earlier this year rolled out a new BladeCenter chassis and several blade servers, including a blade based on the Cell processor IBM is developing with Sony and Toshiba for Sony's PlayStation game console. IBM is targeting the Cell processor-based blade for computation-intensive workloads and broadband-media applications. The company believes it will have the greatest impact for applications that involve streaming data or image manipulation in such industries as medical imaging and life sciences.

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