People are always asking me: “how many blades I have to put in a chassis to make it worth?” My answer is always: “It depends!” . There is no magical number.

First of all, you have to buy* a chassis and since Blade servers are cheaper than rack servers (considering the same configuration), you can save on TAC (total acquisition cost) depending on how many blades you put into each chassis.

Also, even if the customer wants just a couple blades, depending on how many I/O modules you will put into a chassis, it could be cheaper than a complex solution involving two or three vendors and less discount.

This comparison is just about TAC, I will not get into all the benefits of a Blade environment.

Rack servers will have advantage for a customer that has the I/O  infrastructure and wants to buy just a few servers and not be tied to a vendor specific technology.

 

*Both HP (post here) and IBM (post here) have promotions that give free Enclosures/Chassis on your first buy.

My experience says that is better if a customer buy only the minimum necessary to apply for the promotion and request a discount on the rest of the configuration.

 

About the Author
Thales Osterne is a contributor and author for BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over six years in the IT field with four years of experience in IBM BladeCenter and System X.  When he is not blogging, Thales works as a product manager for IBM System X & Bladecenter at Lanlink Informatica, a major business partner in Brazil.  He is fluent in Portuguese and English.

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  • Kevin Stay

    If you are someone who believes in the whole ‘blade philosophy’ then you can come up with any kind of number you like. I remain highly skeptical of the idea there is ever a break even point.

    Consider a fairly modest virtualization envronment with three x3690 servers. (Single 6 core E7-4807 CPU, 32GB, dual 10Gb interfaces) $15k for all three and you have to wire two 10Gb interfaces and power for each. Going to 10 core CPUs and 96GB each doubles that cost. Need more than that? Go with the x3850 for a maximum of 80 cores and 5TB RAM each.

    At every point along that price spectrum it looks to me as if blades cost more; from 18 cores 96GB RAM up to 80 cores and 960GB RAM.

  • Kevin Stay

    If you are someone who believes in the whole ‘blade philosophy’ then you can come up with any kind of number you like. I remain highly skeptical of the idea there is ever a break even point.

    Consider a fairly modest virtualization envronment with three x3690 servers. (Single 6 core E7-4807 CPU, 32GB, dual 10Gb interfaces) $15k for all three and you have to wire two 10Gb interfaces and power for each. Going to 10 core CPUs and 96GB each doubles that cost. Need more than that? Go with the x3850 for a maximum of 80 cores and 5TB RAM each.

    At every point along that price spectrum it looks to me as if blades cost more; from 18 cores 96GB RAM up to 80 cores and 960GB RAM.

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