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Looking to spread the goodness of blade servers to systems builders
beyond the HPs, Dells and IBMs of the world, the Server Systems
Infrastructure (SSI) SIG (special interest group), spawned out of
Intel, has gone off on its own as a separate member-funded entity with
a mission of making blade server specifications available to the masses.

The newly self-funded group is offering three tiers of membership with
the bottom tier fee of $5,000 for the Adopter Member. Those who join at
this level get access to the blade server specifications to build too,
says Jim Ryan, chair of SSI. Specifications include such details as
electronics-based power supplies, fan characteristics and other
detailed information about systems components.

Members get access to six specifications for Blade Center and are able
to make sure that the switch component that is built to the
IBM-developed specification can work with a blade center environment as
well as an SSI environment, says Ryan.

“We think that by putting the specifications out there we will
tremendously expand the market and shorten the time to market for
systems builders who will see significant savings from using syndicated
research,” says Ryan, who notes that the specifications mean small
systems builders will not have to do their own research and development
on basic issues. They can use the specs instead, and then they can
spend their R&D money on adding other differentiated value.

The SSI SIG plans to engage a third-party testing organization later
this year for compliance interoperability testing, and ahead of that
the SSI SIG will offer a plugfest to allow system builders to pretest
their designs.

In addition to access to the specifications, Adopter members are listed
on the SSI Website, are able to view draft specifications, have access
to testing and training tools at standard rates, can participate in
training seminars and interoperability plugfests, are added to the
Integrators List on the SSI Website after successful plugfest
participation, and are given a free copyright license and IP rights to
the final specifications.

Other tiers of membership include Contributors, who pay $20,000 to
join, are listed as a contributor in the SSI Website, receive a
discount on testing and test tools, have the right to participate in
working groups with voting rights, are able to review and comment on
draft specifications, and can attend and participate in Alpha
compliance workshops.

Sponsor members pay $50,000 to join and get all the benefits
Contributor members get plus are listed as a Sponsor on the SSI
Website, are eligible to serve on the board of directors and to chair a
work group, have the right to approve SSI draft specifications, and get
the right of first refusal for all marketing and promotion activities.