Blade servers and bl460 questions

Posted on 2008-10-04
Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Please clarify the purpose / use of a blade server in particular a bl460.

Can this bl460 be used for various things?
I thought bl460 was for virtualising windows servers and running them with ESX VMWARE software to manage them.
Can these such blades servers bl460s be used in other ways i.e. for virtulaised HPUX servers, virtualised Solaris servers?
Are bl460 blade servers simply hardware for virtualising servers regardless of whether it's windows, hpux and solaris??
How does ESX fit in - is this only for windows?
Is ESX only for Windows & Linux?
What would be used for HPUX virtualised servers?
What would be used for Solaris virtualised servers?
I am more confused than ever.
Please email: <email removed>
Question by:gillagilla
LVL 55

Expert Comment

ID: 22641536
Blades have nothing to do with virtualisation per se, they are just like any other server but they have the PSUs and fans taken out and put in the enclusure instead. This provides cheaper cooling and less power requirements per server. They also save you space because you can put SAN and LAN infrastructure in the enclosure as well.

Since the BL460 is an Intel server it can run Windows, Linux or VMware but it doesn't have a lot of DIMM slots or I/O available so isn't the ideal blade for virtualisation. The BL495C G5 would be better for virtualization since it has 16 DIMM slots and dual 10Gb onboard LAN.

You cannot run Solaris or HP-UX on it since these don't run on Intel, you can get an Integrity blade to put in the C7000 blade enclosure and run HP-UX on that. If Solaris X86 is still available you could run that on VMware on an Intel blade.

Accepted Solution

BogdanSUA earned 75 total points
ID: 22651563
Blades are just a hardware platform.  Let me break it down for yout.

They're unique niche is dense computing, meaning a lot of CPU/Memory in a little amount of space.  The BL460s use the HP C7000 class Blade enclosure.  These enclosures can support up to 16 BL460s.  This type of enclosure consumes 10Us.  A "U" is a type of measurement that measures the amount of space that a device takes up in a rack.  A typical rack cabinet has 42Us available in it.  So in a single rack cabinet, you could have 4 enclosures containing  64 physical blade servers.

The BL460 can support different kinds of Operating Systems including but not limited to Windows, Linux, and VMware ESX.

VMware ESX is its own OS, based on Redhat Linux.  It's a virtualization platform.  On it you can run many other OSes simetaneuosly.  

So here's the sweet spot.  If you can get an 10 to 1 virtual to physical ratio, you could potentially have 640 virtual servers running in 1 rack.  Think about how much physical space that would consume without virtualization and without blades.  Thats an entire corporate datacenter.  Even with 1U physical servers, you're talking about 15+ racks, all burning electricty, all needing HVAC cooling, all consuming space, all using up KVM ports and switch ports and everything else.

Hope this helps.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31503059
Thanks for a great reply this has now become a lot clearer.

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