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Understanding Blades Technology

Posted on 2011-02-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Let s say we have a 16 blade enclosure, this can be HP or Dell,
- Does that mean we are are limited to install 16 windows server (No Virtual) ? I meant is it mapped to One server per One blade?
-how many NICs come with the 16 blade enclosure ?
-how are NICs configured for each blade? One IP address for each Blade?
-is it possible to install windows XP, Vista,WIndows 7 on the blades or it has to be a server OS version ?

Thanks

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Question by:jskfan
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andyalder earned 500 total points
ID: 34929223
Blades are just like full sized servers except the fans and PSUs are taken out and shared through the enclosure allowing them to be smaller. With each BL460c G7 you get 2 CPUs, 12 DIMM slots, 2 disk bays, RAID controller, 2 onboard 10Gb NICs, iLO for remote console and 2 PCIe "slots". Since they are like normal servers you can put Windows, Lunux, VMware or whatever on them. With 32GB DIMMs now available you can run a heck of a lot of VMs on a single blade but 32GB DIMMs aren't cheap!

The PCI "slots" are custom "mezzanine cards" since you couldn't get a normal PCI card inside a blade.

You also need to connect the ethernet (and fibre channel if you use a f/c mezzanine) to the outside world, so in the back of the enclosure are slots for I/O modules, these connect to all the blades NIC ports (and to the mezzanines for extra NICs or fibre) and you put ethernet and SAN switches in them. Then you connect your LAN and SAN to these switches.

There's also something from HP called virtual connect, this can split the 2 * 10Gb ports on each blade into 8 logical NICs, ideal if you want to run iSCSI plus ethernet.

It's just about possible to install a workstation OS on a blade but HP hide the driver bundles, if you search driver downloads for "blade workstation" you should find them - the blade workstation is a normal blade but with a beefy video card in a mezz slot. You can't sit the user in front of it but it has a thin client for remote access. A bit specialised, I doubt you'll want to get involved with it except for finding the drivers.
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by:jskfan
ID: 34932317
I was watching this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oldoMOf5OhM&feature=related
so each( blade)server will have 2 nics(teamed) connected  to each embedded switch inside the enclosure( as called simple connect switch), and the simple connected switch will be connected to an external switch(for instance Cisco switch).

If I understand Simple connect switch  as shown on the video, comes with the blade enclosure.
The uplink switch is an external switch, such as Cisco L2 switch
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by:jskfan
ID: 34932381
considering the same video, how do the blades NIC ports get connected to simple connect switch ports , do we need manually to plug cables for instance cat5 from blade NICs to simple connect switch ports , OR is it something plug and play, ? if it is manual how do we get our hands inside the enclosure to do that?
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 500 total points
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I don't do Dell, however the blades connect to the internal switches via the backplane, you don't have any wiring to do. There's an example of HP's backplane wiring at http://filedb.experts-exchange.com/incoming/2009/05_w18/134494/c3000signal (although that's "shorty" the 8 slot enclosure rather than the 16 slot one).
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by:andyalder
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Link doesn't work, it's at the bottom of http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Servers/Q_24368379.html
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by:jskfan
ID: 34968997
I have seen Blades diagram similar to one on my diagram. I mean there is redundancy. each blade has 2 nics and each NIC connected to so called Simple Connect Switch [some call Mezannine].
So how is the redundancy shown in my diagram configured

blades.PNG
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 500 total points
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Like I said I don't do Dell, however mezzanine is a PCI card inside the blade, not a switch.

With HP you can join the two switches together with internal crossover and team the NICs, as the switches aren't stacking ones then transmit load balancing is the preferred teaming method.
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