Opsware, Voltaire, Others Tackle Blade Proliferation

Opsware and Voltaire unveil technologies that ease data center blade management.

While ultradense blade servers enable enterprises to pack more processing power into data centers, by their sheer numbers, they can create a much more complex environment to manage.

At the first annual Server Blade Summit in San Jose, Calif., this week, Opsware Inc. and Voltaire Inc. will each unveil technology designed to ease that management.

Opsware will extend the blade edition of its data center management software suite with an Automated Configuration Tracking feature. The software also includes tools for provisioning, chassis and power management, and the cloning of blades.

According to officials with the Sunnyvale, Calif., company, tracking configuration changes made to individual servers in complete server farms is getting increasingly difficult. For example, an IT administrator who tries loading an application onto a server without knowing that the blades configuration changed could crash the system, they said.

The new automated configuration feature eases setup and deployment of data center blades and then monitors and tracks changes made to each server. The information is funneled to a central console, giving administrators a log of changes made to the servers. It also enables administrators to keep the changes or revert to the original configuration.

Sun Microsystems Inc., which last month unveiled its blade center platform powered by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Athlon XP-M processors, incorporates the Opsware management software.

Also at the conference, Voltaire, which supplies the InfiniBand support for IBMs BladeCenter ultradense servers, will roll out a second generation of InfiniBand products. The Bedford, Mass., companys routers come in a form factor for blade servers that uses less power—as little as 25 watts—than traditional routers.

The new products include the ISR 6000, which is an IP-to-InfiniBand switch router that includes up to 18 InfiniBand ports; the ISR 9600, a scalable InfiniBand switch for high-performance computing (an area in which blades have a growing presence); and the HC 400 host channel adapter.