Thursday, February 21, 2013

Overcoming Blade Server Complexity Issues

Many organizations have not yet implemented blade servers into their IT infrastructure because of their perceived complexity. Consequently, they do not feel that they have the expertise to implement, let alone to make an educated decision to purchase the right configuration for their environment. In order to overcome these obstacles to adopting blade servers, which could actually be a cost-effective technology investment for your company, we are going to break down exactly what comprises a blade infrastructure.

A blade infrastructure can refer to either an IT infrastructure that is entirely made up of many blade enclosures, or a complete blade server solution in a single blade chassis. The unit would include servers, storage, data protection, networking components, etc.  We will be referencing the blade server solution in a single blade chassis.

Blade servers cannot be independently deployed into an environment; they require a blade chassis. A blade chassis is an enclosure that holds the blade servers and includes cooling, power, and networking components that are shared among the blades. Selecting a blade chassis is the first step in configuring a blade solution for your environment.

Each blade server housed within the blade chassis shares a common signal midplane and power backplane. The enclosure also holds Local Area Network (LAN) and Storage Area Network (SAN) interconnect modules, including Ethernet, Fiber Channel (FC), and converged network switches. Communication is enabled between the blade server and the LAN and SAN interconnect modules by means of the shared common signal midplane. Up to 8 interconnects will need to be selected for a complete blade solution, depending on the blade chassis.

The blade chassis is connected to the rest of the environment by means of network switch modules that are housed within the chassis. These switches or modules can be connected to the network core via a number of different available protocols, which allows them to carry all of the network traffic from the blade servers within the chassis.

All components within the blade enclosure are designed to support the server blades. Up to 16 AMD or Intel-based server blade models will need to be selected, and the number will vary depending on the chosen blade server or chassis. Blade storage can also be added to expand the available storage capacity within the blade chassis. By integrating all of these components into one solution, elements such as cabling, rack or floor space, required manpower, and heat are all reduced, while simultaneously improving power consumption and redundancy.

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