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IBM is adding 16 members to its group and is unveiling two security products from partners based on its BladeCenter blade servers.

The April 17 announcements come as the Armonk, N.Y., continues to try to expand the reach of its blade server platform, both through internal projects and via partners., first talked about last summer and launched in February, is now up to 60 members and is designed to encourage partners to build products on top of the BladeCenter systems.

“This is a very fast-growing organization,” said Juhi Jotwani, director of xSeries and BladeCenter solutions at IBM.

The newest products are from security vendors OpenService and Datacom Systems. OpenService, of Marlborough, Mass., is introducing a packaged product that offers its Security Management Center ported to BladeCenter.

OpenService’s product enables users to manage their risks, vulnerabilities and other security issues by collecting and analyzing security event data. The company also has agreed to give reseller and member Avnet distribution rights.

Datacom, of Laval, Quebec, is putting its digital surveillance product onto BladeCenter, enabling blade server users to maintain and store video images, and access, view and e-mail those images remotely.

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Users can run up to 32 cameras on a single blade server, Jotwani said.

The new products are the latest examples of IBM’s strength as the top blade server vendor, Jotwani said. IBM officials say the company owns about 40 percent of the blade market, followed by Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Analyst firm IDC, of Framingham, Mass., expects the blade market to grow to $10 billion by 2009.

IBM launched two months ago, three years after it and chip maker Intel started the BladeCenter Alliance designed to drive standards into the blade market based on BladeCenter.

Also in February, IBM unveiled an ambitious blade server road map that includes additions to its Intel-based blades, an enhanced Power-based blade—the BladeCenter JS21—based on the dual-core PowerPC 970MP chip.

The vendor also introduced the BladeCenter H chassis, which offers 10 times the I/O bandwidth of its predecessor and can run any current or future systems. The chassis also comes with new management tools.

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In addition, IBM is planning a blade that will be powered by two nine-core Cell processors, a chip built in conjunction with Sony and Toshiba. The processor initially was viewed as a technology for game consoles, but IBM is eyeing a greater role for the chip in enterprise products.

The new offerings and the growth of the membership show that “people are willing to invest [in BladeCenter] as a differentiator,” Jotwani said.

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