Network Computing on next geration Blade servers

This morning Network Computing published its analysis of next generation Blade servers. The analysis includes a comparative hands-on review of blade servers from Sun, HP and Rackable Systems. Steve Hill, the reviewer, gave us a score of 3.9 out of 5 and a grade of B.

Even though our “score” is not the best, overall the review is quite positive on Sun. Steve was very impressed with the new design of the Sun Blade 8000 Modular System and X8400 blades and made several strong comments praising the new design.

  • The new Sun Blade 8000 Modular System, which bears little resemblance to its 3U predecessor, incorporates one of the most interesting technology decisions we’ve seen to date.
  • Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Sun Blade 8000 Modular System stems from Sun’s decision to use a passive midplane concept that passes the PCI Express system bus through the system, rather than using blade-based GbE, FC or InfiniBand I/O fabrics. This design offers 40 serial links per server–or a total of 400 serial links–and provides a massive 9.7 Tbps of overall SerDes chassis bandwidth that can be designated to any combination of fabrics and I/O modules that can be mounted at the backplane.
  • The beefy Sun Blade 8000 Modular System earned a perfect score for I/O bandwidth and could be a solid alternative to conventional servers for core-level applications, such as large Oracle or SAP environments, as well as high-performance I/O and compute-intensive apps. Its combination of four-way blades and massive bandwidth at both blade and midplane level sets a new standard for x86 blade performance and throughput.

Sun is positioned very well as a player in this blade market — particularly for those organizations looking at alternatives to very large application environments.

It would have been great to win the shootout though…


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