Blade server and server virtualization misconceptions

Early blade server horror stories may be stuck in end users minds, but blades have come a long way. Author Barb Goldworm explains blade server and virtualization misconceptions.

SearchSystemsChannel.com: What misconceptions do people have about blades servers and virtualization?

Barb Goldworm: As with any technology, in early product releases there are horror stories, and they get stuck in peoples' minds. People heard the early stories of blade servers and virtualization and they still believe those issues exist today. They decided that they can't implement blades because they are low-power, specific-function servers that don't give them the capabilities that rack servers do. That used to be true; it's not anymore. The newer blades systems are now designed with all the capabilities available in rack systems, dual-core and quad-core processors with high memory capabilities, high-speed IO options and high-speed IO switches inside the chassis. When users say, 'Well, I can't look at blades because I need heavy horsepower and it's not available,' they are dealing with old information. These days, anything that the major systems vendors deliver in rack servers, they now deliver in blades. Hewlett-Packard (HP) calls it their Blade Everything strategy, IBM has the same concept.

In addition, today's blades are designed with high-speed interconnects within the chassis; and all of the blades systems support a much higher number of network interface cards than early blades. I've yet to run into a user who has encountered an IO bottle-neck, even implementing virtualization on blades.

In fact, one of the misconceptions has to do specifically with implementing server virtualizationon blades. For example some people have had concerns about VMware's Virtual Infrastructure 3, on blades. These concerns are based on the old data that blades don't have the high-end capabilities of rack servers -- it's just not true today. I have talked with lots of users who have standardized on VI3, running on blades. Again, I have yet to run into anyone who has had an IO limitation. If you do a good job of workload planning, as you do your virtual-server-implementation plan, you can create workloads that are balanced across different blades and blade chassis to fit within the IO capabilities and processor and memory capabilities; which by the way they are essentially the same limitations as those in a rack-mounted environment.



10 tips in 10 minutes from Barb Goldworm

 Home: Introduction
 1: Blade server and virtualization benefits
 2: Ideal blade server candidates
 3: How to sell blade servers
 4: Blade server and virtualization misconceptions
 5: Preparing to deploy blade servers and virtualization
 6: Server virtualization channel impact
 7: Future of blade servers and virtualization
 8: Blade server and virtualization consulting
 9: Server Blade Summit must-attend sessions
 10: Blade server and virtualization resources

About Barb Goldworm: Barb Goldworm is founder, president and chief analyst of Focus Consulting and author of the book Blade Servers and Virtualization. She has spent over 30 years in systems and storage in various senior management, marketing, sales, technical and industry analyst positions with IBM, StorageTek, Novell, Enterprise Management Associates and several successful startup ventures. A frequent speaker at industry events, she also created and chaired Interop's Networked Storage Track. More recently, she was one of the top three ranked analyst/knowledge expert speakers at SNW and has been a regular expert speaker for TechTarget and Ziff-Davis E-seminars. She also chairs the Server Blade Summit on Blades and Virtualization.

This was first published in March 2007

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