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Insider: SAN Blades Controversial

Storage connectivity is key to helping IT managers get the most out of blade servers. But the best way to link to SANs isn't clear.

Lots of organizations are using blade servers to save space and streamline management of data -- but not as many as hype would have it, according to the latest Byte and Switch Insider, this sites paid subscription research service.

The report -- “Blade Servers: Bargain or Bust?” -- says customers are still working out issues of power and cooling. They're often disappointed that blades don't offer dramatic savings over their rackmounted cousins.

Despite this, when blades servers are linked with networked storage, the savings can justify the changeover. As servers multiply, so do the costs and complexity of keeping them attached to a Fibre Channel SAN. Compressing them in blade form can bring savings in the cost of HBAs, the cost of extra cabling, and other elements typically needed to link individual servers to a Fibre Channel SAN.

This adds up. “We figure about 67 percent savings versus connecting rackmount servers to an external SAN,” says Steve Gillaspy, group manager for HP BladeSystem at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ).

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