Organisations may be able to reduce their hardware costs by buying blade servers bundled with other kit, according to analyst IDC.
This is due to the maturity of the x86-based blade server market, which is slowly reaching saturation levels.
IDC's EMEA Quarterly Server Tracker 1Q11 data, showed firms in Western Europe spent $1.8 billion in 2010 on x86 blade servers, for the first time, spending on blade machines grew at a slower pace (18 percent year-on-year) compared to traditional and scale-optimised rack machines (37 percent year-on-year).
"IDC believes that a number of industry trends - from the growing weight of virtualisation to the impact of a new Tier 1 player like Cisco, to the rise of new modular rack-type platforms built for higher density in scale-out environments - are reshaping the role of blade servers in European data centres in 2011," IDC said in its recent study involving 300 organisations in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
Giorgio Nebuloni, senior research analyst with IDC European Systems and Infrastructure Solutions, said that users now perceive blade machines as a mature infrastructure component, and that now their purchases are more often driven by price rather than technology factors, particularly in mid-market customers.
"Particular technology features rank relatively low among supplier selection criteria, and choices are driven by broader considerations around financial stability, price point, and breadth of hardware portfolio," he said.
Nebuloni said that many customers planning to change blade supplier wanted to do so because they hope to save money on the overall purchase of hardware, including network or storage gear.
IDC's survey found that 18 percent of respondents indicated a past or future change in blade supplier between 2010 and 2011.
"If you add to this the fact that Cisco, the network leader, entered the blade server market increasing pressure on the incumbent HP, IBM and Dell, you can see how customers will have the chance to lower overall hardware costs by purchasing discounted "bundles" of blades plus storage, or blades plus networks, from one supplier, or a partnership of suppliers," said Nebuloni.