Tip

How to buy a blade server

Plenty of users are surprised by the cost of a blade server project, according to Anne Skamarock, research director at Boulder, Colo.-based Focus Consulting and co-author of Blade Servers and Virtualization: Transforming

    Requires Free Membership to View

Enterprise Computing While Cutting Costs. "A fully populated blade system may require more cooling and power than a fully loaded rack system," she cautions. And if you don't have a storage-area network (SAN) in your data center, you should establish one as the foundation for a blade project, she added.

"That's an upfront investment you should make as you prepare for a growth strategy with blades," Skamarock said. Many analysts will tell you that real returns on blades can only be seen when you buy enough blades--more than eight--to cancel the price of the chassis.

In addition, the popularity of virtualization -- a natural technology companion to blade infrastructures -- is helping to drive the adoption of blades.

Martin MacLeod, a London-based consultant who authors a blog on blades in his spare time, said users are being inundated with an impressive range of options from vendors trying to take advantage of the consolidation and virtualization craze. He has dedicated a spot in his blog for "peripheral blade vendors" as technologies converge. In his practice, he often fields questions about purchasing and chargeback, he said. "The first blade encounters all of the cost: the new enclosure, the power supplies and the switches," he noted. "So if HR requires another blade, do we need to buy another enclosure? Is that an HR cost or an IT cost?"

Before you commit to a particular blade vendor, here are some points to consider to make sure the technology fits with your data center requirements.

  • Are there any prerequisites for a diskless server or server boot over SAN options?
  • Is there a set storage requirement per blade? Will it ever change?
  • Which level of tech support will be provided? Is there a different level for Fibre Channel (FC) users?
  • Request a vendor compatibility/interoperability matrix. Blades are a proprietary technology.
  • Will you need disk drives on your server blades? Are they hot swappable?
  • Don't assume that a fully loaded blade system won't cost as much to power and cool as a fully populated rack. Ask vendors to help with projected power needs and possible savings.
  • What remote management features are included in the price? Some may be priced on a per-server basis.
  • How many blades are supported in each chassis? Will you need a second blade center to support your growth strategy?
  • Will special power connectors or cabinets be required?


This was first published in August 2009

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.