The blade server makers are at it
again. One can’t seem to announce a new product without everyone firing their
competitive guns full blast. Dell is the latest with its new
M-Series blade servers.
This announcement has the usual foot soldiers: new
dense form factor, simpler setup and administration, new feeds and speeds,
aggressive pricing, comparison check lists and yet another “independent study” showing that Dell blades deliver 29% more
performance/watt than the competition.

It also
has the innovative new metric others will have to respond to. I thought this
one was rather creative: the new Dell M-Series blades spew less CO2
than competitors – so much less that we can live with 4 acres less pine trees
per year without burning up the planet! Good news since the developing world
continues to slash more forests than we can plant

customers certainly need comparatives to help determine the value of a new
solution, the blade vendors take this element of marketing to OK Corral levels.
Where else, than on HP,
and Dell’s blade web sites can you see competitive bashing highlighted so

already. HP’s C-Class isn’t the competition for the new Dell M-Series. The status
quo is. And that’s a room full of Dell rack and tower servers (according to
Forrester Business Technographics only 28% of enterprises and SMBs are buying
blades and an overwhelming majority buy from their dominant server vendor). Blade systems are far more efficient server
solutions that can accelerate reaching IT consolidation goals and drive down
overall data center costs. The vendors’ focus should be on encouraging their
own customers to move up to blades, not worry whether they’ll jump ship for the
competitor’s blade offerings.

issues to focus on are customer education and overcoming the objections to
these — let’s face it — proprietary offerings. Once you buy into one vendor’s
chassis, you’re committing to their server blades for the long haul.

anything good comes from this battle it’s better
products at better prices. But the blade wars drain significant energy and
marketing money (not to mention all the trees their marketing departments are
cutting down to attack each other) away from the real battle, thus keeping
blades a minority of server shipments. In an era where IT
consolidation is actively being pursued by more than 80% of all enterprises
this is disappointing, as today’s blade servers are the best yet.

By James Staten.

Check out James’ research.