Wikibon.org Releases Analysis of Blade Computing

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To Blade or not to Blade? Wikibon.org community releases latest Peer Incite™.

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In larger shops, the realities of complex hardware configuration to run specialized workloads, especially those featuring high write to read ratios, will not go away soon despite what blade or other server technology vendors promise.

Wikibon.org (http://www.wikibon.org)], the world's first open source IT research and advisory community, today released results from its latest Peer Incite™ research meeting. The following is a summary statement by community member Peter Burris.

To Blade or not to Blade? "Over the past few years, the remaining large server vendors (e.g. Dell, HP, IBM, Sun) have focused much invention on blade computing; the packaging of CPU, memory, network and I/O capabilities utilizing common sets of technologies that can be easily added to or removed from a shared frame and controlled with a single set of management resources. While these vendors utilize similar nomenclature and concepts, the reality is blades are still distinct enough that mixing and matching is inadvisable. This places some users in a quandary regarding their use of blade technology.

Specifically, as vendors attempt to position blade products not only as superior to other offerings but also market blade computing as superior to other computing types, enormous promises are being made regarding the degree to which complex hardware configuration and operations work will disappear as a consequence of using blades.

The reality is that for applications such as very large transaction processing or other applications with high write to read ratios, configuring applications to work on specially configured hardware remains a challenge. However for the broad array of applications such as email, Web serving and many analytics applications, blade computing can offer the benefits of simpler configuration, change and operations from a hardware perspective.

Users must recognize that they will pay a premium for lower volume blade complexes to cover the true costs of blade racks and packaging technologies as well as vendor markups for specific solutions. Therefore, smaller businesses should be careful to assess the marginal benefits versus the costs of using blade technology. Typically, we found that application loads requiring fewer than 5-10 blades (15-20 CPUs) are best devoted to standalone server technologies under a single console. Over time, we expect to see a convergence of blade standards as competition in that marketplace continues to foster from smaller yet still viable players. Large vendors will have to respond to this competition or find themselves increasingly on the outside looking in on innovation in the blade marketplace."

Action Item: Users in smaller shops must not rush to blade computing because they will pay a premium for much of the technology benefits that could double or triple the cost of a server complex. "In larger shops, the realities of complex hardware configuration to run specialized workloads, especially those featuring high write to read ratios, will not go away soon despite what blade or other server technology vendors promise."

About Wikibon
Wikibon is a worldwide community of practitioners, consultants, and researchers dedicated to improving the adoption of technology and business systems through an open source sharing of free advisory knowledge. Co-founded by former Meta Group and IDC executives Wikibon (http://www.wikibon.org) is a place where professionals can collaborate, share knowledge and do good work.

Media Contact:
David Butler: (774) 463-3400
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