SAN JOSE, Calif. The Intel-led Server Systems Infrastructure Forum (SSI) has released a suite of draft specifications for x86-based server blade systems as part of its expanding charter and organization.
To date the ten-year old SSI has released 45 specifications mainly related to power supply modules for server blades. The group has announced a new set of six specs covering compute cards, mezzanine cards, chassis management hardware, network switch modules and backplanes.
Through the work of SSI, Intel and others hope to define common standards for cards and other components that could work on a range of x86-based server blade systems.
The group's specs leverage existing work on x86-based server blades at Intel as well as IBM's work through the blade.org group.
Intel and IBM have a longstanding collaboration aimed at making it easier for so-called white box manufacturers to design server blades using their technologies. To date, top computer companies including Hewlett-Packard and Dell have taken proprietary approaches to server blades. Thus cards and other components for one company's system will not work in another company's chassis.
The SSI designs are geared for systems catering to small- and medium-sized businesses typically using about ten blades per chassis and standard server cooling technologies. In this way SSI aims to spread the server blade concept among a broader set of users.
The new specifications are already in a version 0.9 status. The group will host a plugfest this fall for systems and components using the specs as part of its expanding efforts in interoperability, compliance and marketing.
"A lot of work will happen in a very short amount of time," said Jim Ryan, chairman of SSI and an initiative marketing manager at Intel.
The SSI specs debuted at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing where Intel is showing systems using the proposed standards.
SSI has restructured itself as a separate non-profit entity with dues paying members. Formerly, it was an informal special interest group with a membership contract but no dues.
So far, the group has 32 members under its new structure including AMI, Dawning, Gigabyte, Intel, Mellanox, Samsung and Supermicro.