IBM Tweaks Prices on BladeCenter H and Power Blade Networking Gear
January 28, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Support for the i5/OS V6R1 operating system on the JS22 Power6-based blade server is expected some time soon, and so is the general availability of the new BladeCenter S blade server chassis that is aimed at small and medium business customers–the kind who like the i5/OS platform but who also have Windows and sometimes Linux and AIX in their shops. To help spur a little business with its current product line, IBM last week rejiggered prices on networking components used in the Power blades and the BladeCenter H chassis. IBM did, however, increase some prices, too.
Specifically, IBM raised the price it charges for a Gigabit Ethernet switch module for the BladeCenter H chassis from Nortel Networks by 14 percent to $2,399 and raised the price on Ethernet expansion cards for the JS21 PowerPC 970MP and JS22 Power6 blade servers by 20 percent to $299. IBM also raised the price on an InfiniBand 4x cable for the chassis by 86 percent to $499. (Man, I am in the wrong business. I mean, 500 smackeroonies for a cable?) The price on the QLogic 4 Gb Fibre Channel pass-thru module for the chassis was increased by 11 percent to $4,999.
IBM also cut prices on Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet mezzanine cards that plug into the JS21 and JS22 blade servers, with some very steep price cuts. Various switch modules also saw price decreases, which are outlined in the table below:
What is pretty obvious from this table is that while blade servers are great for packing more computing into a given space, and virtualization is great for pushing up server utilization, the investment in the switching and storage networking technologies that are used in blades and are a necessity for virtualized, efficient server environments sure are expensive. The benefits undoubtedly outweigh the costs, but cutting the check for this networking and storage area networking fabric must be annoying.