Blade Use Expands

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2002-06-10 Print this article Print

Blade Use Expands

More recently, Gator expanded its use of blade servers to reduce its co-location costs. As Gators business grew exponentially last year, the company began to max out the electrical power allotment it had purchased from its co-location provider. Rather than lease more co-located data center space, Bonser last year purchased seven chassis and 144 Transmeta Corp.-based server blades from RLX for his primary and backup data center to power Gators Internet presence. The savings have been significant. Bonser, who can put eight chassis on each rack, can now get 192 servers onto a rack in his co-location center, using one-tenth of the space he used to require and without violating heat and power limitations imposed by his co-location provider.

The lack of adequate blade server management software, however, means Bonser has had to come up with his own workarounds. RLX recently switched the operating system it supports, replacing the Debian GNU Linux distribution with Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Linux distribution. That created problems, because Red Hat had standardized on the Debian version of Linux.

To compensate, Bonser has engineered his own solution. He purchases his server blades with no operating systems installed. Then, when its time to add blades, Bonser uses a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol server to assign IP addresses to the new blades. Bonser then boots from the network and installs enough of a standard build image to log in to the blade server and finish the installation process.

Now Bonser is working on a plan to expand his use of blade servers even further. He wants to use blades to enhance database performance, placing blade servers behind the load balancer used by his database servers.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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