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Blade pioneer releases AMD-based systems

Egenera, which previously used only Intel processors in its BladeFrame products, will soon offer systems based on Opteron.

Egenera, a company that pioneered the idea of high-end blade servers, on Monday released a new generation of systems and announced that it will sell products based on Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor.

The Marlboro, Mass.-based company, which had previously used only Intel processors in its BladeFrame products, will soon offer systems with two or four Opteron chips. The microprocessors, which include features for communication and 64-bit memory addressing, are also used in general-purpose servers from Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

Dell, IBM, HP and Sun--the top four server makers--all offer blade servers, thin machines that fit into a chassis that provides common resources such as power supplies and networking. Where those competitors mostly started off with basic servers, Egenera began with higher-end models and features to let administrators move jobs from one blade to another in response to changing work requirements.

With the company's fourth-generation BladeFrame systems, administrators can change many characteristics of servers without having to shut them down; keep logs of server usage for the purpose of charging different groups for how much server power they consumed; and let one operating system, running atop EMC's VMware software, to take over for another that has crashed.

In addition, Egenera announced that Commerzbank North America of New York has ordered BladeFrame systems for running Windows and Linux programs. The bank wanted to consolidate its existing Unix servers and increase processing capacity. Other customers include America Online, Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.

Egenera filed for an initial public offering in 2004. In the three months ended March 31, the company garnered $20.3 million in revenue but posted a net loss of $18.6 million. The company raised $30 million in funding in January 2004.