The Rest of the Shorty Story…

There's a lot of talk about blades out there – especially by Dell and HP. I’ll write more soon about the affordability of Dell’s M-Series vs. the HP Shorty. In the meantime, I think you’ll enjoy this quick :40 second video which takes a look at how the two systems stack up … literally.

I’ve always found it interesting that one of the main things you hear from HP about Dell’s M-Series blade server solution is that it is our “third venture” into the blade market. This is true, as is the fact that HP has introduced four different blade models into the market (PowerBar – HP; E-class; P-class; C-class). Quite the omission on their “Real Story about Dell and Blades” page. What do they have against innovation?

Blade technology has evolved significantly over the last 5 years and Dell has not just evolved with it, but we’ve anticipated it with our M-Series blades. Planned chassis evolution, which is what Dell has done, is a good thing. It means you are keeping up with or anticipating future technology needs.

My newest favorite comes from HP’s “Shorty”, the c3000 and the marketing around it being “…built just for small sites with big compute and storage needs…” (The new BladeSystem c3000). I think this claim begs the following points or questions:

1. If you have “big compute needs,” wouldn’t you need the basics in enterprise class capabilities like redundant network fabrics…or is ensuring you can access your data just not important?

2. The “plug it into a 120v standard wall socket and be up and running” attitude borders on criminally funny. Most standard wall sockets are 15amp, but I’ll give HP the 20amp benefit of the doubt. You can run four standard BL460c blades in the chassis with that, perhaps five. Six blades at 60% capacity with two Intel L5420 procs and 8GB of RAM is right at the de-rated, best practice, limit on a 20amp circuit with 15.79 amps. A power spike to 100% will blow the circuit. Shorty doesn’t have redundant power so if the circuit goes, the chassis goes. Best practice for Shorty should be to only use half the chassis max (4 blades), and that’s with low voltage processors with a maximum 8GB of RAM each. Not the best RAM capacity for virtualization.

3. A better compare for customers is the M-Series configuration below using 208v, which only draws about 18 amps on a SPEC benchmark load. (A 208v window air conditioner is normally on a 30amp circuit.) You can easily put in 4 times the servers (16), each with twice the RAM of the Shorty config above (16GB), using a little more than twice the total power of the Shorty config. If you drop the blade count to parity, you are a solid winner with more RAM, more I/O and true enterprise class features.

4. M1000e configuration:

  • redundant Chassis Management Controllers;
  • the Avocent iKVM;
  • 6 switch modules (3 redundant fabrics);
  • 9 fans;
  • 6 power supples; and,
  • 16 M600 blades, each with two L5420 Intel procs and 16GB of ram, two LOMS and two dual port mezzanine I/O cards (six total I/O ports in three redundant pairs)

About the Author: Tom Cloyd