IBM's increasingly popular blade servers will be getting a significant boost over the course of the next year. Big Blue has planned a release of the Power6 CPU based series, the first of which is destined for the middle half of 2007. Where space and performance come at a premium, blade servers from various vendors are in huge demand. IBM stands out as the premier supplier of blades, especially since the introduction of their BladeCenter chassis. The new Power6 systems will offer something that may have led many admins to opting out of blades a while back, and that is the ability to use IBM's native i5/OS, used on many other IBM systems. While not available immediately, this gives admins the choice of Linux, AIX and i5/OS.
On a more significant level, the introduction of those two components make the blade a more attractive option for smaller businesses and lower cost servers, where a small form factor server is more important than blistering-edge performance. While Opteron and Xeon remain the premiere choice for blades, the Power6 might be able to find a niche. As a CPU, Power6 is estimated to be able to reach speeds beyond 5GHz, though no specific roadmap from IBM has been released yet.