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July 21, 2009

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Chandler Hall

Interesting. After all the hype about blades and energy savings, I am a bit stunned by this result. I would have expected the savings to be far greater than this comparison.

At least I know I can upgrade to the latest Nehalem dual processor Xeon's, ensuring that I'll have lots of idle time, which should result in 25% savings on all that power I don't need. :-)

Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

Matt Lavallee

The result is interesting, but I think far from conclusive: The DL380 G6 has six PCIe slots, 4 LAN ports, and so on, while blades (individually) have none of these -- there *should* be a much higher accumulated benefit than a few percent, particularly when idle.

I think that the newly-posted result on the DL4x170h, which is essentially a conventional 1U server in a multi-tenant configuration (sharing only RPSes), is far more interesting. By my calculations, this unit bests the c7000 by more than 10% in perf/efficiency, cost 50% less, and takes up two fewer rackmount units.

Nik Simpson

Thanks Mike,
I agree, I was expecting to see a lot more of a difference. I looked at the 170h result, and I've a suspicion that the actual server blade in the 170h is probably a variant of the motherboard used in the blade. I'd bet the better power efficiency is because the PSU can be sized exactly for four blades with a specific power envelope, rather than having to cater for a range of different blade sizes and configurations.

MattL

The 170h is a sister part of HP's new SL product line. I'm pretty sure these are fresh designs, given that they have IO slots and ports and do not share any bus connectivity (as blades do).

(NIK's comment) - They may have just extended to blade board design a little, just replace the section that has the PCIe mezz card connectors with a layout that includes PCIe slots instead. So my bet is that while the boards are not the same, they are probably close cousins.

I'd side with you on the power efficiency boost, since the PSes scale linearly to the nodes. At the same time, you're also being liberated from the blade chassis overhead and complexity.

With cost/perf/efficiency being so much higher on these nodes, I suspect they'll really take off when they get marketed.

-Matt

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