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IBM aims blades at smaller businesses

Though blade servers typically are used by larger customers with computing expertise, IBM is trying to broaden their appeal by combining its BladeCenter products with select server software.

Blade servers, thin systems that slide side-by-side into a chassis with shared networking and power components, have appealed chiefly to larger customers with computing expertise. In an attempt to change that, IBM announced a program Tuesday to try to encourage smaller customers to use blades.

The program combines IBM's BladeCenter products, its server software such as WebSphere and DB2, and other software from business partners. Anaconda Sports, a 200-employee sporting equipment retailer in Kingston, N.Y., is one customer. The products are distributed in the United States and Canada through Avnet and, beginning June 1, will be distributed through Agilysys, IBM said.