Strategy: The Blade Advantage

Aug 03, 2011


Design on a Dime: The Blade Advantage

Senior IT pros tend to be risk-averse creatures, and for good reason. A gunslinging CIO risks making a bad decision that could cost the business millions (or more). Conversely, though, resisting change and delaying critical decisions can be equally dangerous. When it comes to pulling the trigger on blades, many technology managers find themselves at a crossroads, where each fork has compelling advantages and disadvantages.

There's an analogy between blades and server virtualization. With both techs, you're piling lots of eggs in one basket, which adds risk in the absence of a rock-solid high-availability plan. To make matters worse for the timid, unleashing the true potential of today's blades requires largescale virtualization on the chassis, which effectively multiplies the number of server eggs in each blade chassis basket. There's also the risk of vendor lock-in. Blade chassis typically last two server lifetimes -- we're expecting six to 10 years -- and accept server modules from a single vendor only, so you’re making a larger and longer commitment.

Blades will fundamentally alter your data center's plumbing, but if you can get past the queasy feeling of letting your pizza-box servers go, the benefits are numerous. In many ways, investing in blades is like buying a big, open house that you can divide and add on to in a modular fashion. In the rack-mount world, the walls in your house are well defined and not as easily changed. (S3180711)

Plus: Blade vs. Rack-Mount Pricing downloadable comparison

Research Report