Egenera's nearly 7-foot-tall BladeFrame system can hold as many as 24 servers, each a two- or four-processor model, said Vern Brownell, Egenera CEO and former Goldman Sachs CTO. Each processor "blade," which doesn't include its own hard disk, can be assigned to take over if another one fails by assuming the failed computer's network identity and storage system.
The first models will use current Pentium III chips running at 1GHz or newer Pentium III-M "Tualatin" models running at 1.26GHz, Brownell said. Later this year, the company will begin selling the systems with 2GHz Xeon chips, a version of the Pentium 4 geared for server use.
Lower-end models, including gear to connect to networks and high-end storage systems, will begin around $250,000, but products with the more powerful chips will cost more, Brownell said.
In 2002, new versions of the product will be able to be linked together so that any part of a 120-server pool can be set up to take over from another.
Egenera hopes to succeed where other server specialists such as VA Linux Systems, Cobalt Networks and Network Engines have struggled. Analysts say Egenera's market--financial-services companies and service providers--is small but lucrative.
In July, the company received $30 million in funding, led by Austin Ventures and contributions from earlier investors Kodiak Venture Partners, Spectrum Equity Investors, CSFB Private Equity, Goldman Sachs and YankeeTek Ventures. Brownell said the funding is enough to carry the company, now with about 115 employees, to profitability.
The company has several customers waiting for the servers to go on sale and expects to start booking revenue in the fourth quarter, Brownell said.
The systems are used for running databases such as Oracle or Sybase products or application servers such as BEA WebLogic or IBM WebSphere, Brownell said. The system is certified to run Red Hat's version of Linux, so Red Hat-certified programs will run on the BladeFrame, he added.