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Hitachi Wants a Share of North American Blade Market

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Hitachi America announced this week that the company has updated their BladeSymphony family of blade servers with embedded virtualization. Launched over two years ago and carrying roughly 20% of the Japanese blade market, the BladeSymphony servers will be available in North America come January.

Hitachi bills the new BladeSymphony blade servers as the "industry's first enterprise-class blade server." A tall claim but the new systems do carry some interesting features.

Hitachi is calling it's embedded virtualization technology "Virtage" and has billed it as the first time consumers will have a virtualization option beyond the current software-based solutions like XEN and VMware. The BladeSymphony line will use SMP as the blade-to-blade interconnect allowing users to view and configure multiple blades as if it were a single machine.

The new blades are 10U chassises built on Intel's Dual-core Itanium 2 9000 processors. The Virtage technology leverages the Intel VT (Virtualization Technology) to address some of the scaling problems inherit in running multiple operating systems. The standards-based hardware is capable of running both Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and RHEL 4.

Hitachi says they've already secured their first US customer with Stanford University�s Cardiovascular Biomechanics Research Laboratory (CBRL). However, the company won't want for competition in the booming North American blade market. Currently dominated by IBM and HP followed by Dell, Sun also returned this year after putting their blade products on hold in 2003.

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