Traditional third-party server management solutions are not adequate for handling the headless server blade environment, but F5 Networks Inc. and Jareva Technologies Inc. are readying tools that have the potential to provide better management and provisioning of blades.
F5s Big-IP Blade Controller software, released late last month, can bring traffic optimization features to blade implementations. Big-IP Blade Controller ties blades into a unified computing platform and intelligently directs IP traffic to the optimal resource, whether its a server blade within a chassis or an application running on a blade. In addition, Big-IP Blade Controller provides Secure Sockets Layer acceleration, load balancing, application health monitoring and added security.
Big-IP Blade Controller is certified to run on Hewlett-Packard Co.s HP Blade Server bc1100 and HPs ProLiant BL10e, as well as on RLX Technologies Inc.s ServerBlade 800i blade systems. F5 officials said blade systems from other vendors will be certified as they become available.
Pricing is based on the number of CPUs on the blade Big-IP is managing. For one CPU, the price is $4,000; two CPUs cost $5,500. There is also a licensing cost of $500 per server blade.
Jarevas BladeForce Management Suite, due to ship this month, is more comprehensive than the F5 system in terms of provisioning.
BladeForce—which will support blade systems from vendors including HP and Dell Computer Corp. and runs on Windows 2000 Server, Linux and Solaris 9–controls and manages all provisioning tasks while keeping inventory records of server blade hardware. The software can also discover bare-metal blades, which will make it quicker and easier to commission blades based on usage demands.
Based on Jarevas proprietary Elemental IT Abstraction Protocol, BladeForce abstracts computer, storage and networking devices. It then automates the discovery, deployment and configuration of the blade server via a Web browser interface.
BladeForce also allows administrators to manage the switch fabric that usually comes with a server blade chassis. Most vendors have different utilities for managing the chassis and blades, but BladeForce provides a centralized management point for all tasks.
BladeForce will be priced based on the number of server blades it manages, but Jareva has not announced pricing.
Links to additional articles in this Special Report:
- Blade to Order
- Two Blades Cut Path to Manageability
- Consider Virtualization Return