IBM Corp. is looking into ways it can leverage its Blue Gene supercomputer within the firm’s BladeCenter line of ultra-thin blade servers. “We’ve been looking into ways to commercialize what we have with Blue Gene, and using that technology within BladeCenter is something that would make sense for us to do,” said Jeff Benck, vice-president and business line executive for IBM’s eServer BladeCenter.

According to Benck, a 2006-2007 time frame is likely for this initiative — nothing concrete this year.

IBM, in Armonk, N.Y., has been working toward building a commercial version of the Blue Gene supercomputer, called Blue Gene/L, aimed at the enterprise as well as the scientific and research markets. In March, IBM began offering Blue Gene supercomputing on demand, allowing customers to run Linux-based workloads through a dedicated virtual private network into its Deep Computing Capacity on Demand Center.

According to IDC analyst Dan Fleischer, the combination of Blue Gene technology with the BladeCenter line is a natural evolution for IBM as it seeks to make its on-demand utility computing model more appealing to enterprise customers.

“Blue Gene is more about pushing the utility computing concept, and blade servers make a natural fit to employ Blue Gene technology on,” Fleischer said. “Blades are the form factor of choice.” But IBM faces an up-hill battle when it comes to winning over the enterprise market, Fleischer said, in part because utility computing is a very complex concept to deploy.

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