You commented, "None of your suggested 'openness' has any value once blades are deployed in the enterprise data center, no matter which vendor they came from."
I would suggest you review my comment and see the statement, "if someone does not like them, they can swap to1U boxes while not changing your management or provisioning software." An enterprise architect must take end-of-life as well as non-performance risks of a platform into consideration - there is value in risk mitigation.
In essence, I provided the benefits to not choosing proprietary vendor choices. One could seemlessly swap SUN out, without a loss in the investment any proprietary hardware, software, and sub-systems (which I had listed in detail in 2 different ways.)
There are implicit benefits of not being tied to proprietary hardware, software, and sub-systems - which I did not list because I had believed they were self-evident... let me list a few:
+ reduced customer cost - If a business does not need to invest in proprietary hardware, sub-systems, and software - then this money could be invested in other areas of the business
+ increased customer flexibility - if non-proprietary equipment is used, flexibility is optimized, and the need for future vendor roadmaps is mitigated, since financial investment in proprietary solutions does not need to be depreciated over a long period of time and future architecture changes does not obsolete previously purchased equipment
+ increased supplier flexibility - if non-proprietary equipment is used, the supplier is not burdened with sacrificing future performance & features in order to fit the old proprietary pieces (i.e. backplane, cards, etc.) and more supplier options can be made available at a lower investment threshold since the supplier is building common options for multiple families of systems leveraging economies of scale
+ increased choice - since more options can be made available at a lower investment threshold by the supplier, more options will be made available upon customer request. A fine example of this was the Open Source T* CPU Series from SUN being able to be fit onto a proprietary card onto a proprietary backplane into a proprietary IBM Chassis (in my former comment.) This would have been less likely if the SUN OpenSPARC T* CPU had a proprietary bus (i.e. remember Intel putting the screws to AMD when AMD wanted to continue manufacturing CPU's that would slot into an Intel proprietary bus socket?)
+ increased I/O options - using standard I/O cards (which I had listed in my previous comment) in a blade system means off-the-shelf cards can be leveraged from former investments in the new non-proprietary (i.e. SUN) blade system implementations. Existing spares at a customer site can be leveraged for new non-proprietary blade implementations. If the new non-proprietary blade system is swapped out, then the standard I/O cards from the non-proprietary blade system (i.e. SUN) can be re-leveraged into other existing server spares or even into new systems to replace them. If the blade system is outgrown (i.e. application requires more CPU or memory capacity than a blade can offer), the I/O parts can be moved to a different (non-blade) chassis, conserving parts from the original investment, or even leveraging the I/O spares from the non-proprietary blade server investment. Furthermore, if the non-proprietary blade supplier (i.e. SUN) does not offer a card, the customer can go to a third party to get the appropriate card to meet their business requirement.
There are many reasons why Gartner indicated that the proprietary blade technology would dull server growth. Suggesting the "openness" I listed does not have any value suggests that Gartner is wrong in it's assessment.
I had also indicated that Sun is "not perfect" - I wish a vendor in the industry would open-source a blade standard and invite other vendors to join in, as had previously been done successfully with hardware & software solutions to create huge markets of choice:
+ SPARC platform (i.e. TurboSPARC, HyperSPARC, SPARC64, "Niagra", etc.)
+ OpenFirmware (i.e. SUN SPARC, Macintosh, etc.)
+ POSIX (i.e. Linux, Solaris, OpenSolaris, HPUX, AIX, AUX, MacOSX, etc.)
+ X Consortium (i.e. Hummingbird & Exceed, Linux & XFree86, Cygwin/X, MacOSX and X Windows, SUN Solaris & OpenWindows, etc.
+ Java (i.e. Eclipse, NetBeans, Tomcat, IBM VM Microsoft VM, OpenJDK, Glassfish, etc.)
+ Open Document Format (i.e. OpenOffice.org, KOffice, Google Docs, NeoOffice, Zoho, IBM Lotus Symphony and Corel WordPerfect Office X4, etc.)
+ HTTP/HTML Protocols (i.e. Server: Apache, Tomcat, IIS, Netscape, etc. ; Clients: Netscape, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.)
In conclusion, I hope this clarifies the value for "openness" in the blade server market, both from an immediate value, future value, and examples of how "openness" had benefited other markets to create huge marketplaces for commodity hardware & software.