InfoWorld’s Blade Server Shootout: Sun vs HP vs Dell

InfoWorld has completed their comparative tests of Sun, HP and Dell blade servers at the University of Hawaii.  In the end, all three scored a “Very Good” rating with Sun’s score coming in at 8.2 and HP and Dell both scoring an 8.3.

It is a on-message review of our blade offerings. The reviewer, Paul Venezia, notes the 19U rack size of Sun Blade 8000 Modular System, and immediately explains, “…  Sun’s take on blades is a little different: It was the only blade solution to support four CPUs per blade, and can handle 10 blades per chassis. With dual-core AMD Opteron CPUs, this equates to 160 cores in a single 42U rack.

The review goes into the details of our blade system architecture, server modules etc. with I/O options getting special attention:  “I/O options are plentiful. Each blade can handle as many as six different external I/O forms, and there are two different methods of delivering the physical I/O ports to the blades themselves.

Paul is very pleased with the virtualization capabilities: “The Sun Blade 8000’s hardware fits a virtualization build-out plan like a glove. Available I/O options are far better than the other blade systems, and the four sockets per blade, the NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) inherent in the AMD Opteron technology, and maximum RAM supported all make virtualization a foregone conclusion. Sun Blade 8000 Modular System

Even a VMware engineer on site was very impressed with our offering, and that made to the review: “… As a VMware engineer speculated during testing the week after the blade server tests, “Wow … at standard loads with quad-core CPUs, this thing could support 600 virtual machines all by itself.” Enough said.  …

The system management features including N1 System Manager, ILOM Web Interface, and CMM received kudos, with Paul commenting, “Sun’s ILOM Web interface was not only the fastest, it was also the easiest to navigate of all three solutions.

We did lose a point for our numbers for SPEChpc benchmarks in comparison with other systems in play, but the review concluded, “The Sun Blade 8000 is a masterpiece of engineering and aesthetically attractive to boot. At $100,000 as tested, it’s definitely not a low-cost solution, but its focus isn’t on the low-end market. This is a system that begs for a heavy workload — and delivers.


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