Customers cut to the chase with blades

Local adoption skyrocketing

Blade servers have become ubiquitous in Australian data centres as customers demand greater IT infrastructure flexibility.

IDC predicts that one in three servers will be blades by 2010.

The research firm's server market analyst Chris Ward said it's no longer just about acquiring another box to run more workloads.

Ward said blades provide more simplicity and efficiency compared to rack and tower environments which equals better infrastructure management.

"With enhanced features of energy consumption, rapid deployment and simplified management, blades satisfy customer needs for lowering operational costs and reduce the physical complexity in managing multiple servers," he said.

IBM A/NZ system x and bladecentre brand manager Dean Janjic said there has been rapid adoption of blade servers in the local market as customers move off older technology and transition to a new platform.

Local IBM customers that have adopted blades include the Flight Centre and Weta Digital.

The Flight Centre selected blades to cope with rapid expansion and was able to reduce its data centre from 20 racks to six blade chassis.

Janjic said the travel company saved 60 percent of forecasted capital expenditure and completed the migration in half the projected time.

"Blade computing is a major departure from the way servers have been deployed in the past; it's not just a server, but an infrastructure replacement encompassing server, networking and storage," he said.

"Companies are able to get more computing power for the same or less floor space, with reduced power and cooling requirements. In today's market of high real estate and power prices, this provides a significant cost benefit for customers."

As an IBM business partner Fujitsu has been actively involved in blade implementations and also believes interest is ramping up in the local market.

Fujitsu Queensland consultant Matt Tsin said a number of key factors sway customers when considering adoption.

"It is the ability to standardise to a common platform that is scalable, flexible and easy to manage," Tsin said.

"Environmental factors such as space, power and cooling are also important as there is a growing awareness of the environmental concerns of running a data centre and the efficiency of BladeCentre is hard to match."

An industry group supporting customer moves to blade architecture is blade.org (www.blade.org) which brings together 75 companies to develop new blade-based soutions with interoperability and open standards as a priority.

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