SOURCE: IBM

February 16, 2007 00:01 ET

Global Venture Capital Firms Invest More Than $1 Billion in Blade.org Members

Blade.org Celebrates One Year of Collaborative Innovation, One Hundred Members, 30 New Solutions for Customers

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 16, 2007 -- Blade.org, the open collaborative community driving innovation in blade-based solutions, today announced that the global venture capital community has invested over $1 billion in the last two years to fund companies developing emerging technologies and solutions to help customers simplify business computing with blade servers.

To celebrate the investment milestone and its one-year anniversary, Blade.org convened in Silicon Valley with its members and leaders of the global venture capital community today to help map the future trajectory of the blade server market -- the industry's fastest growing server market segment predicted to reach $11 billion in revenue by 2010.(1)

In 2006, technology leaders, including Blade Network Technologies, Brocade, Citrix, IBM (NYSE: IBM), Intel, NetXen, Nortel and VMware joined to form Blade.org, an open collaborative community dedicated to building blade-based solutions for customers. From eight founding companies, Blade.org has grown to nearly 100 members in just one year, including leading blade hardware and software providers, developers, distribution partners and end users from around the globe.

IBM and Intel took a unique approach in the blade server industry in 2004 by opening the architecture and specifications of the IBM BladeCenter system. This move to open opportunities for innovation has enabled a growing community of over 400 technology companies who have downloaded the specifications for free to begin to shape the future of the blade server platform. Additionally, the need for the Blade.org community was identified by venture capital firms that recognized the opportunity for up and coming technology companies to play a critical role in the fast growing blade server market.

To date, more than 50 global venture capital firms, including Walden International, USVP, Accel, Austin Ventures, Mayfield and others have many of Blade.org's member organizations, building support for the blade server architecture and spurring development based on open hardware standards. Blade.org members are actively collaborating to build blade-related technologies, such as special purpose blade servers, interconnect technologies, management tools and vertical industry solutions.

"By providing an environment that sparks innovation among members, Blade.org is bringing new blade server applications and solutions to market more quickly, creating opportunity for the entire blade ecosystem," said David Liddle, general partner, U.S. Venture Partners. "With contributions from hardware and software vendors, to developers and investors, to the end-user looking for the best way to do business, the collaborative environment of Blade.org is forging the next generation in blade technology. Nearly half of the Blade.org ecosystem is made out of venture capital investments, and we believe this is expected to have significant impact on shaping up the future direction of this technology."

Blade.org Collaboration Yields 30 New Solutions to Date

In October 2006, Blade.org launched its Blade.org Solution program to provide end-users an easy way to identify product offerings proven to work compatibly with the BladeCenter server platform. To receive the designation "Blade.org Solution," a blade solution must be offered by a Blade.org member company, must operate in concert with the product of at least one other Blade.org member, and must be deployed successfully in a customer environment. In addition to meeting the stated requirements, Blade.org Solutions must undergo rigorous evaluation by technical and marketing committees before achieving the designation.

Blade.org partners have collaborated to develop 30 new solutions for IBM BladeCenter customers in just one year. One such solution, focused on video surveillance, has been developed by Avnet, Blade Network Technologies, DataCom and IBM, and implemented by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco to help protect the museum and its assets.

"The collaboration between Blade.org members Avnet, Blade Network Technologies, DataCom and IBM has helped us tighten security for our world-renowned collection of more than 16,000 Asian artworks," said Jim Horio, director of Information Technology for the Asian Art Museum. "The three companies worked together to help expedite the implementation of a DVD-quality video surveillance system based on powerful IBM BladeCenters servers and IP-based software from DataCom. The solution, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will help us safeguard the museum today and help us easily scale for future needs."

Blade Servers: The Shape of Things to Come

By combining storage, networking and servers, blade server systems simplify business computing for customers. The shape of each blade server is slim and, like a book, slides into a system like books on a shelf and carries its own processors, memory, storage, network controllers, operating system and applications. Each server also shares a mid- or backplane, which enables power, fans, floppy drives, switches, and ports to be shared. The benefits of the blade approach will be obvious to anyone tasked with running down hundreds of cables strung through racks just to add and remove servers. With switches and power units shared, precious space is freed up -- and blade servers enable higher density with far greater ease.

Customers of all sizes are turning to blades to save space, increase density and decrease power consumption, while lowering total cost and improving infrastructure flexibility. Blade.org has identified critical areas of opportunity in the blade market in 2007, including but not limited to:

--  Security:  The inherent advantages of blades in the area of overall
    system density combined with flexible and scalable security technologies
    for protecting small, medium and large enterprises against cyber crime is
    now mission critical for conducting business in today's electronic economy.
    New blade server security solutions may include physical security
    protection such as video surveillance solutions or cyber security
    protection with solutions focused on encryption protection, identity
    management, anti-spam and anti-virus protection.
--  Virtualization:  Today, one of the biggest challenges companies face
    in the datacenter is managing the growth of computing demands.  In fact,
    experts predict that within the next couple of years companies will add an
    additional 12-million square feet of raised floor just to accommodate their
    datacenters. Virtualization software is quickly becoming the de facto
    standard for companies looking to do more with their current hardware, and
    blade servers are quickly surpassing their rack-mounted brethren as
    powerful and space-saving alternatives.
--  Power and Cooling: With power, cooling and electricity representing
    between 25 and 40 percent of a datacenter's annual operating costs,
    according to Robert Frances Group, IT executives are sensitive to the
    implications of power efficiency in the data center. Blade servers both
    offer increased computing density and a significant performance per watt
    benefit.  These inherent advantages of blades when combined with advanced
    power and cooling infrastructure, can achieve the efficiencies at the data
    center level that are essential to IT success in the near future.
    
About Blade.org

Blade.org is a collaborative organization and developer community focused on accelerating the expansion of blade solutions and the IBM and Intel blade ecosystem. The organization is intended to create new solutions, maximizing the value of the blade platform. More information is available at www.blade.org.

(1) IDC: Worldwide and U.S. Blade Server 2006-2010 Forecast and 2005 Vendor Shares.

Contact Information

  • CONTACTS:

    Vineeta Durani
    IBM for Blade.org
    415-545-2350
    pr@blade.org

    Janet Dean
    ISTO for Blade.org
    512-372-8380
    pr@blade.org