Blade Servers are self-contained computer servers, designed for high density. Whereas a standard rack-mount server can exist with (at least) a power cord and network cable, blade servers have many components removed for space, power and other considerations while still having all the functional components to be considered a computer.
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Two years ago Clabby Analytics wrote a report that evaluated Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) and revealed shortcomings in the UCS design, stating that Cisco blade environments are “good enough” computing environment. Since then Cisco made improvements to their system design, but the blade market didn’t stand still waiting for them to catch up as IBM announced a new system design: the IBM Flex System. Continue on to this new assessment from Clabby Analytics that compares Cisco’s UCS blade server offering to IBM Flex System’s in a soup-to-nuts evaluation. Also find out how these two major players compare to the competitors in the blade marketplace.
In this Research Report, Clabby Analytics takes a closer look at IBM’s Flex System converged architecture. The new Flex System’s advanced blade offering shines compared to its closest rival: traditional blade architecture. Flex System offers superior manageability, faster communications, more storage capacity (using up to eight internal solid state drives [SSDs] per compute node) and better storage management — as well as broader/better physical/virtual system management — than all of today’s leading blade competitors.
"IOPS (I/O operations per second) is an easily understood and communicated unit of measurement, which is why it’s so widely used. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to oversimplify. IOPS describes only the number of times an application, OS or VM is reading or writing to storage each second. More IOPS means more disk I/O, and if all IOPS are created equal, we should be able to measure disk activity with it alone. But they aren’t.
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When rack-mounted servers first appeared on the scene in the 1990s, they offered considerable advantages over the behemoth boxes they replaced. Their small, standardized footprint went a long way toward making data centers easier to manage. In the ensuing decades, form factor size and compute power have had an inverse relationship.
Their universal standardization earned them the nickname “pizza box” servers, and it was a key driver of the scale-out computing model popular in the early 2000s. Populating a rack of eight servers and either clustering them or implementing failover from one to the other was far easier than previously possible.
Virtualization was supposed to be the disruptive technology that saved IT. The cost savings from consolidation and the ease at which applications can be deployed promised to vastly improve delivery of IT services, free up IT staff to work on other projects, and not strain budgets.
Unfortunately, lack of insight into IT resource status in highly virtualized environments and the complexity of the interactions between server, storage, and network elements have added to IT staff manual workloads and led most companies to dedicate too much time to operations and not enough time to innovation. This basically negates the major benefits of virtualization.
Every data center IT manager must constantly deal with certain practical constraints such as time, complexity, reliability, maintainability, space, compatibility, and money. The challenge is that business application demands on computing technology often don’t cooperate with these constraints.
A day is lost due to a software incompatibility introduced during an upgrade, hours are lost tracing cables to see where they go, money is spent replacing an unexpected hardware failure, and so on. Day in and day out, these sorts of interruptions burden data center productivity.
Sometimes, it’s possible to temporarily improve the situation by upgrading to newer technology. Faster network bandwidth and storage media can reduce the time it takes to make backups. Faster processors — with multiple cores and larger memory address space — make it possible to practically manage virtual machines.
"Cloud computing, also known as 'IT as a Service', is predicated on delivering IT services on demand, an idea that has support from business leaders as a way to better align IT with business operations. Cloud computing has two key requirements: virtualized applications and seamless support and integration between the server, networking, storage and hypervisor components.
In this paper, we explore these concepts and highlight the critical features necessary to move beyond server virtualization by leveraging key integration capabilities between IT components-with a particular focus on the important role that storage plays in the evolution of the datacenter architecture."
As the amount of information we generate grows, and as our relationship with information grows more complex, the race to innovate new products and services to help us harness information, manage it, and tap into it more easily intensifies. This paper discusses the continuing development of HP’s strategy for delivering Converged Storage that improves the ability of your business to capitalize on information. Building on the foundation provided by fusing industry-standard technologies, federated scale-out software, and converged management, HP is now extending Converged Storage into new solutions and segments with a new initiative that introduces the next evolution of this HP Converged Storage strategy and vision.
This IDC paper “Business Value of Blade Infrastructures” indicates the considerable cost savings and the improved agility of the IT infrastructure by migrating to an HP BladeSystem environment. In fact, HP BladeSystem cut data costs by 68%. Customers participating in this study were able to pay back their initial investment in just over 7 months, a significant factor given the financial constraints most IT organizations are facing.
This report defines storage-centric virtualized infrastructure, its opportunity and use cases, and the emerging vendor landscape that IT infrastructure and operations groups should evaluate as they purse the software-defined data center.
To remain profitable and competitive, organizations need to ensure that every resource is consumed economically and every asset utilized optimally. With fragmented operations, tools and information, many organizations are failing to collate and analyze the metrics needed to bridge the data center performance divide.
Virtualization and cloud architectures can actually make it harder to deliver consistent performance to critical applications. Best practice performance management can help IT virtualize applications that require guaranteed performance.
Blade servers can yield significant cost efficiencies over rack servers — while taking up a smaller footprint, consuming less power and providing significant advantages in terms of manageability, scalability and flexibility.
Savvy IT professionals are finding that blade servers are less expensive than traditional rack servers for most new deployments, while also delivering improvements in agility, scalability and manageability.