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  1. #1
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    Is anybody using blade servers?

    Is anybody using blade servers as a hosting platform?

    Be it shared, reseller, VPS, renting them as dedi's whatever...

    Curious, seen some pretty powerful ones with dual quads and 4 x SAS. Could easily accommodate VPS it would seem. Granted they cost a pretty penny.

    From the standpoint of having a single rack, pumping 1Gbps fiber to it, could be of some value running blades for maximum density.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTrike View Post
    Is anybody using blade servers as a hosting platform?

    Be it shared, reseller, VPS, renting them as dedi's whatever...

    Curious, seen some pretty powerful ones with dual quads and 4 x SAS. Could easily accommodate VPS it would seem. Granted they cost a pretty penny.

    From the standpoint of having a single rack, pumping 1Gbps fiber to it, could be of some value running blades for maximum density.

    Thoughts?

    I'm actually looking at getting myself a single blade and rack for Christmas. Just something for the house to play with, I know they are expensive, but I've always wanted one =)
    Not sure what to put here :-P

  3. #3
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    After I get some of these projects out of the way I might just do the same.

  4. #4
    We have always found the idea interesting, but have yet to find it cost effective due to the high sales price.
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  5. #5
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    H,

    We run blade servers for a few local clients.

    6x - HP model: BL20p

    12x - HP model: BL460c

    We host there CITRIX farm of almost 20 blade server's
    Last edited by TheServerExperts; 09-23-2009 at 08:39 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ActiveForce View Post
    H,

    We run blade servers for a few local clients.

    6x - HP model: BL20p

    12x - HP model: BL460c

    We host there CITRIX farm of almost 20 blade server's
    Groovy, though I would expect something like this from TheServerExperts. If you lacked groovy, I might not trust your server expertness.

    I guess I just need to get some gear when time/money permits for some testing.

  7. #7
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    While blades do have their uses, I'm not sure that the general web hosting industry is the right place for them. Why pay extra for the blade infrastructure when a standard 1U/2U rackmount server will do fine?

    The reality is that most datacenters can't or won't support the power density required to fill a rack with blades. If space is not the limiting factor, there's no need to pay a premium for blades.
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  8. #8
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    In a lot of datacenters, you will run into power and cooling issues before you run out of rackspace using standard 1U rackmount servers these days.

    Whilst blades do have a few benefits with regards to easy management, they do cost a lot more (even within the same vendor) and I've yet to be convinced that the increased priced results in an equivalent real world benefit.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazmanultra View Post
    In a lot of datacenters, you will run into power and cooling issues before you run out of rackspace using standard 1U rackmount servers these days.

    Whilst blades do have a few benefits with regards to easy management, they do cost a lot more (even within the same vendor) and I've yet to be convinced that the increased priced results in an equivalent real world benefit.
    Agreed. As a datacenter provider, we've seen a few of our customers install Dell and IBM blade centers. From a cost per Core/per U perspective, blade centers are much more expensive and, based on our clients' experience, prone to failure.

    We've seen the following issues in just the last 18 months:
    1) Dell Blade Chassis completely unreachable for management/KVM though servers were up and pinging. Blade Chassis eventually was replaced by Dell
    2) IBM blade center has unsupported issue with 802.1q networking. IBM sends techs out to resolve matter, they cannot resolve it. Issue is still open after months.
    3) Second IBM blade center backplane failure. All attached blades died at once.
    4) IBM blade center issue with complete data loss because of firmware issue. Client had backups, so data was restored after firmware upgrade.

    The bottom line that we've seen with blade centers is as follows: You have a single point of failure on the backplane, you pay more money per unit of processing power, and the Blade Servers/Enclosures simply don't work like standard servers. We see no benefit in adding a layer of abstraction to a server solution, especially when it costs more.

    If you're looking for a VPS solution, we recommend buying a powerful frontend server (Dell 2950ish) and connecting it via iSCSI to a drive array for abundant, fast, reliable storage for your customers.
    Last edited by esnetcolo; 09-23-2009 at 10:56 AM. Reason: Typo on networking protocol
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  10. #10
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    As others have said, I can't see any benefit in using costly Blade servers for web hosting either.

    You could build your own for a far lower cost and have the money left over for spares or even another server.

  11. #11
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    We use Dell blade servers and love them. We find them to be easier to work with, a bit more energy efficient, and we are able to achieve higher density. We are in a very expensice facility and need to maximize our space. We can fit 64 blades in a rack versus around 40 1u's. We have had very few issues with our blades. Less issues than we have had with standard servers.

    Blades are not for everyone as the others have said. The higher cost to purchase initially and many facilities ability to handle the increased power and cooling make them less attractive for most.

  12. #12
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    We've got blades and love it!

    They use a lot less space, meaning we can fit a lot more. (as alexk1 said).

    Fitting more, means we can get them cheaper than the standard 1U rack unit. A good bang for the buck, as you've got so many new features vs rack unit.

    I guess the only problem is that the disk space is low for the older models due to the 2.5" hard disk. The newer models with 3.5" hard disks will be when blades are going to hit the market well imo.

  13. #13
    We using HP blades last four months. Now we have four HP c7000 enclosures equipped by 16 x BL460c (2 x QC, 2 x SAS) and 32 x BL2x220c (64 dual quad core servers in TWO enclosures!). Very high density! Price is high, but we have economy on cabinets, communications, remote hands and much more. Blades remote management (iLO) and Virtual Connect modules is perfect!

  14. #14
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    Regardless of the initial investment for blade servers I prefer them for their many advantages including saving rack space and saving on power management cost allowing hosts to offer cheaper hosting plans.

  15. #15
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    To high of cost, high power requirements you still get more servers in a rack vs blades due to power constraints..

    Though from a management perspective i would LOVE to use blades. If you are in a facility that gives you the power/density then its a great thing other wise 1 and 2u's still work like a charm.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by HostingAmerica View Post
    3) Second IBM blade center backplane failure. All attached blades died at once.
    4) IBM blade center issue with complete data loss because of firmware issue. Client had backups, so data was restored after firmware upgrade.

    The bottom line that we've seen with blade centers is as follows: You have a single point of failure on the backplane, you pay more money per unit of processing power, and the Blade Servers/Enclosures simply don't work like standard servers. We see no benefit in adding a layer of abstraction to a server solution, especially when it costs more.
    I thought IBM touted redundancy on their backplanes too? or was that HP? someone did.

  17. #17
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    IMO blades are one of the best solution if u want to keep up with new tech. But whatever u save on real estate, u end up paying in power as dell blades require 220v 18Amps (16 blades in a chassis). The only setback is HDD which can be solved used a SAN or NAS server.
    You can get a 4 x quad amd with 32 to 64 gig ram at just $1800 to $2500 max, so price is out of question.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by IPStrada LLC View Post
    IMO blades are one of the best solution if u want to keep up with new tech. But whatever u save on real estate, u end up paying in power as dell blades require 220v 18Amps (16 blades in a chassis). The only setback is HDD which can be solved used a SAN or NAS server.
    You can get a 4 x quad amd with 32 to 64 gig ram at just $1800 to $2500 max, so price is out of question.
    That's true. The new blades coming out support much bigger drives so can't wait for that

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by IPStrada LLC View Post
    IMO blades are one of the best solution if u want to keep up with new tech. But whatever u save on real estate, u end up paying in power as dell blades require 220v 18Amps (16 blades in a chassis). The only setback is HDD which can be solved used a SAN or NAS server.
    You can get a 4 x quad amd with 32 to 64 gig ram at just $1800 to $2500 max, so price is out of question.

    the 5-8k "premium" dell is charging for the chassis alone makes blades not worth it. server to blade price is very comperable but the chassis blows the price point out of the water.

    As far as power goes we have a rack with 38 1950's 2x 5405 8b ram 2x hdds and between the two they are using ~42a @ 208v total.

    Now lets look at some power/math.

    If you get 16 servers on 16amps and I get lets say 21a for 16 servers.

    [email protected] = 1KW. On average with facility fee's you will pay .09/year per KW/h if you are on sub metered power. so .09*24*30.5= $68.50/month in power savings

    If you are paying breakered power? you probably have a 30a circuit and are paying an obscene amount for it. let a lone you hav~9amps left usable on 208 on a 30a on a blade which what are you going to do? plugin half a blade center?

    Say you run a [email protected] 16a is your cap out. I know you said 220v so mabe you are fine. you can fit you blade center on a single 20a breaker then.

    Your running 4.4kw per blade center and I license 6.2kw per 21 servers. However my 16 servers only using 4.3kw.

    Of course my numbers are based on colocation prices in northern virginia and yours might be different. But the point is blade centers do not make sense in the datacenter. They are great for private companies that run their own datacenter that don't care about power and cooling and can handle it and don't have padded/excessive power costs. I have yet to see a datacenter where I can effectivly put enough bladecenters in a rack that would save me anying over my individual 1us.

    If you do somehow manage to fit 3x centers in a rack thats 24k at the minimum you are spending on the enclosures for dell. and even then your still only +10 servers to what I can fit in a rack with 1u's.

    I might be missing some things, please forgive me if some of it does not make sense, its early and I have not had my daily pick me up.

  20. #20
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    Based on our experience, You need 2 dedicated 20a 208V ckts to power a blade center. We have seen one power supply pop and take 5 others with it on a Dell blade center. We have also seen on PS die and take out a dedicated 30s breaker.. So keep the power split between 2 ckts or risk loosing all 16 of those nice new blades.

    Overall.. I have seen more new bladecenters (Whole Chassis) die in the last year than new servers. And we have hundreds of new servers Vs. maybe 15 blade centers.....


    They scare me from a business point of view..

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  21. #21
    Can't wait for the new blades to come out.. Now all I need is someone to love me enough to give them to me for Christmas presents
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  22. #22
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    I've come to the same conclusion as many have mentioned already here. From my experience here in Europe, most european datacenters cannot accomodate the power and cooling to support a full rack of blades.

    With the average datacenter found in and around London (England) for an example, you'd fit just about one of Dell's latest blade enclosures packed with half height blades before you start approaching the typical power limitation of 16A per rack 42-46U rack. With the cost of the blade enclosure and the induvidual blades both being rather pricy compared to Dell's 1U server equivalents, it just does not seem to be worth it.

    With single server units, similar management features can be achieved through a cheap KVMoIP unit or induvidual management cards in the servers if you buy a solution that includes this at a resonable cost. Personally I'd go for a second hand / refurb Dell 2161DS-2 or similar and 1U Dell servers. Very reasonably priced these days.

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