IBM BladeCenter vs. HP BladeSystem Power Efficiency Study White Paper - Sponsored Whitepaper

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When Edison Group last visited the issues surrounding the use of blades in the data center1, questions about whether to use blade servers instead of rack-mount servers were still uppermost in the minds of decision makers. Today, most of these questions have been answered: Blade servers enable greater physical server densities to be installed in a given space Blade servers simplify network architectures by reducing the number of cables required to connect server to networks and external storage. 2 Blade servers simplify deployment of new server instances. Blade servers simplify administrator tasks by concentrating a larger number of servers within a single management console.

Today, blade servers are being called upon to play a new role, expanding upon the advantages already recognized by the industry. That role is hosting virtual servers. Blade platforms are ideal for server virtualization: existing hardware and software management and deployment tools make configuring the hardware and installing the hypervisors a much simpler task when compared to rack servers. Network and storage I/O is simplified by default, and emerging virtual I/O technologies are a perfect fit to virtual server requirements.

However, server virtualization's emergence as a major blade server workload brings some new problems for data centers. Blade server solutions provide high compute densities: the blade solutions evaluated in this study require from seven to ten rack units of space for fourteen or sixteen servers, as compared to the fourteen to sixteen rack units an equivalent number of 1U servers would require. This compactness has the potential of being self-limiting when it comes to power to the rack. Called the Power-Density Paradox by Karl Robohm and Steven Gunderson of Transitional Data Services, 3 organizations can find that:

1 Edison IBM BladeCenter Power Efficiency Study: http://www.theedison.com/pdf/2008_Sample s_IBMBladeCenter.pdf 2 Technologies, such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet, are succeeding in further reducing the infrastructure burden. 3 You can download a relevant white paper at: http://transitionaldata.com/insights/TDS _DC_Optimization_Power_Density_Paradox_W hite_Pap er.pdf. Transitional Data Services is a data center consulting firm headquartered in Massachusetts

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