Along with SMBs, which IBM defines as 1,000 employees or fewer, the new product could appeal to large retailers or financial institutions with stores or offices distributed over many locations. An IT department in a central retail office, for example, could set up a BladeCenter S, and then ship it to a store where it could be easily deployed. If an application needed to be replaced later, than the IT department could ship a new blade for swapping out the old one.
The new product represents a change in attitude toward blade servers, which were originally designed for server consolidation in large businesses. Blade chassis are capable of integrating servers, storage, networking, and applications into one system.
These days, this versatility is finding a place elsewhere. "This concept of having a data center in a box has appeal for smaller businesses and distributed retail," Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff said.