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Server blades

I have to purchase some servers and considering the IBM and HP server blades.

Any comments on these two server brands would be appreciated. The IBM model is the IBM ECentre with HS20 xeon EM64T blade processors and DS400 SAN compared to the HP BL20p.

I.m looking at issues such as reliability, redundancy or known bugs/problems associated with these units. Any advice for maximum (cost not an issue) redundancy would be appreciated eg duplex controllers on san with quad fibre connection, etc

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isltt
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isltt
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I'm not familiar with the HP Products, but the IBM products are, in my opinion quite nice.  I've used several.  Some things to keep in mind (though my info is about 3-6 months old) - the IBM Blade Centers may require 220 VOLT outlets and not 110 - you can't install this kind of power in your data center you might have a problem.  The IBM Blade centers I worked with required 2 power supplies if you filled the blade center.  The first one covered blades 1-7, the second covered blades 8-14.  This CAN be made redundant as there is room for 4 power supplies.  

Personally, we looked breifly at HP and Dell blades and the IBMs were the most capable of the bunch.  IBM just seems to be well on top of the blade game.  BUT, things change fast and as I said, this info is 3-6 months old.

I'd suggest if you can, find a local IBM retailer and get them to demo the blades for you (that's what we did).
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PanjandrumCommented:
Hello Isltt

I can give you all the info you want on the HP Blades but can you specify which blade you are talking about?

BL20p, BL20p G2 or the BL20p G3
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PanjandrumCommented:
This is a small comparison written by HP over IBM  (BL20p G2 vs IBM HS20) / Date = march 2003

The ProLiant BL20p G2 with SCSI drives has a performance advantage of 95% over the IBM BladeCenter HS20 with the SCSI Storage Expansion Unit

The peak performance advantage is even more pronounced (924%) when the BL20p G2 is compared to the HS20 configured with only the internal EIDE drive

In WebBench the BL20p G2 showed a peak performance advantage of 32% over the IBM BladeCenter HS20

HP offers 2P blades with up to 3.06GHz Xeon processors with the 533MHz front side bus
IBM only offers up to 2.8GHz Xeon processors with 400MHz front side bus
HP is the only tier 1 vendor with a high performance four-way blade that features 2.0GHz Intel Xeon MP processors

HP p-Class blades feature internal high performance 15K SCSI hard drives
IBM’s only internal storage is 5400 rpm ATA mobile drives.  A separate SCSI expansion unit costs $399 and cuts IBM’s density to 42 server blades in a 42U rack.  This is 13% less density than the ProLiant BL20p G2.

HP p-Class blades have the Smart Array 5i plus controller with a battery-backed write cache option, ACU
IBM offers software RAID

HP blades are optimized for StorageWorks, and compatible with EMC and Hitachi SANs
IBM only lists support for IBM SAN storage.

While using the SAN both internal HP SCSI drives are available
The 2nd ATA hard drive cannot be used when Fibre Channel Card is installed due to mechanical reasons


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tmcguinessCommented:
I've got some Dell's... pain in the posterior. Sorry processors, lame local disk storage, we're using them strictly as low end devices for only the most basic services that have very minimal system requirements. Now the switch that is on it is just something else that can break. it doesn't provide any benefit to us.

My advice is, consider your needs and then if a blade server looks like it fits the bill consider one but keep in mind the downsides. Don't look at blade servers as this cool new technology that you want to get in on because the sales pukes want to sell it. I wish now that I had simply bought a few 1u servers and left the blade servers at the factory.
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