Support for Storage Networks
Once youve got the networking components in place, the next logical step is to offer NAS (network-attached storage) or SAN (storage area network) support. IBM and Hewlett-Packard, for example, have been offering blade server products with direct support for both NAS and SAN technologies. HP is taking that even further, with an announcement made last week that it is partnering with Brocade Communication Systems to fully integrate the Brocade SAN switching capability into the HP line of blade servers. Read more here about the HP/Brocade announcement.By embedding the Brocade 4GB switch module into the HP blade server, HP hopes to offer a simplified storage networking infrastructure that will also be manageable within the construct of the blade server management environment, resulting in additional cost savings, both in implementation and ongoing expense, to HP blade server and storage networking customers.Lest you think that this is a shot in the dark from HP, consider this: Last month EMC hired a new chief technology officer, Jeff Nick. Nicks immediate background was that of the chief architect of IBMs very successful grid computing initiative, in the role of CTO and senior vice president. With EMC looking to expand its presence in the utility computing market, the decision to place a proven grid performer in the role of CTO gives you a good idea of how serious (and concerned) EMC is about this market space. These are just some of the big names that are working toward building this integration into the blade server market. Im sure that there are many vendors working under the radar that arent quite ready to make public announcements about their integration plans. Personally, Im looking forward to the dedicated edge hardware appliance vendors (firewall, e-mail, anti-virus, content management, etc.) making their offerings available as blades from the server vendors. This will be a big step in making the management and consolidation of entire network infrastructures into a single rack package pretty close to a reality, with the customer able to pick from a Chinese menu of choices that they can be assured will work together. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest utility computing news, reviews and analysis.