Rising Costs

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2006-02-08 Print this article Print

Bringing such management capabilities is important, as the cost of managing servers grows, Zeitler said. Over the past five years, management and operation costs have risen to account for almost 75 percent of the overall cost of a server, he said.
"Its about simplifying the operational environment in the data center or telecommunications office or in the bank branch," he said.
The ease of management of blade servers and overall costs were key factors in convincing Jack Ondeck, senior vice president and CIO for Bristol West Insurance Group, to adopt the technology last year. When using traditional stand-alone servers, bringing in a server to run an application meant having to bring in another four or five servers for such functions as backup and disaster recovery. That need is less with blades, Ondeck said. A project that might have called for 36 to 48 traditional blades now only needs 12 to 13 blades, he said in an interview before the event. Theyre also easier to deploy, needing only to plug them into the chassis, Ondeck said. That ease has allowed him to also keep up with the demands of users. By speeding up server deployment by using blades, "we can stay two steps ahead of our customers instead of always running behind," Ondeck said. In addition to the chassis, IBM unveiled a number of blades that will launch during the year. Also coming available next month will be the BladeCenter JS21, which will be powered by IBMs dual-core PowerPC 970MP chip. The system will offer up to three times the performance and twice the memory of the current JS20, with support for up to 16GB of DDR2 memory. It also supports IBMs Advanced Power Virtualization technology within the chip, enabling users to consolidate multiple applications onto a single blade. The server can support from one to 10 partitions running both AIX—IBMs Unix variant—and Linux, Whitney said. In April, IBM will roll out a new HS20 blade running Intels low-voltage dual-core Xeon chip—code-named "Sossaman"—which will have a power envelope of 31 watts. Server density and more powerful processors have increased the costs of power and cooling in data centers, making them factors in making technology decisions for many companies. "While the cost of computing has stayed relatively flat, the environmentals around computing have gone up," said Douglas Balog, vice president of IBMs BladeCenter business. Only a few years ago, power and cooling accounted for about 1 percent of overall server ownership, Balog said. That has since risen into the 20 percent range, he said. In the third quarter, IBM will introduce a blade powered by two nine-core Cell processors, a chip built in cooperation with Sony and Toshiba. Initially viewed as a Power-based chip aimed at game consoles, the Cell blade will offer benefits for users that run compute-intensive graphic applications such as 3D rendering and encryption, Whitney said. IBM also announced that Cisco Systems has designed the InfiniBand Switch Module, a 4X switch for high-connectivity, specifically for the BladeCenter platform. The switch is four times faster than previous products, IBM officials said. That will be available in the second quarter. Blade.org will continue IBMs push to use partners to expand the blade ecosystem, Zeitler said. IBM and Intel three years ago created the BladeCenter Alliance to drive standards into the growing blade space. Through Blade.org, companies will be able to build applications on top of the servers to create solutions for everything from voice-over-IP to business intelligence. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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