Insider: Storage Boosts Blades

Gigabit Ethernet promises big changes in blade server storage

November 28, 2006

3 Min Read
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Storage is now one of the main drivers behind blade server deployments, according to the latest Byte and Switch Insider.

The report, Gigabit Ethernet: Blade Servers Fuel Storage Democracy, reveals that thanks in part to increased adoption of Ethernet for SAN connectivity, CIOs are incorporating more blade servers into their SANs. Ease of use, cost benefits, and the small form factor of blades are pushing this trend, according to Max Smetannikov, research analyst for Byte and Switch Insider and author of the report.

"Vendors have focused on blade servers as a perfect complement to SANs and see the use of blade server-storage combinations as satisfying customer needs," explains Smetannikov. "Many have launched new products that deliver not just storage functionality, but also applications that have been developed on the assumption of the availability of blade server-storage switch infrastructure."

Examples include IBM's "Branch In A Box" offering for the banking industry, which uses the vendor's BladeCenter to support local storage backup and restore, wireless networking, and management of automated teller machines. Vendors like HP and Sun also have pushed the marriage of blade servers and storage with a slew of recent announcements. (See IBM Bolsters Blade Strategy, IBM Offers Blade Replacement, , HP Adds Storage Blade, and Sun Glints Off Blades.)

At the heart of the trend is acceptance of Ethernet as a primary data center network. The report explores the following findings:

  • Gigabit Ethernet is threatening to overtake Fibre Channel as the primary storage networking fabric.

  • More blade servers support Gigabit Ethernet than Fibre Channel.

  • iSCSI running over Gigabit Ethernet will lead blade-and-storage platforms down market by expanding the potential customer base to include smaller businesses.

The growing adoption of blade server storage suggests that users are finding their way round some of the issues highlighted in last year's report: Blade Servers: Bargain or Bust?”. (See Insider: SAN Blades Controversial, B&S Insider Explores Blade Servers , and Battle of the Blades.) Overall, it seems adopters are more satisfied about the manageability of the heat and power requirements blade servers present. (See Blades Still Too Hot, Summer Storage Survival, Data Center Heat Wave, and NewEnergy Chops Its Blades.)

The latest Byte and Switch Insider report explores the available options for blade server networking, using comparative charts, and also outlines the future of the technology. Products from the following vendors are profiled:

  • Cassatt Corp.

  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • Egenera Inc.

  • Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701)

  • PlateSpin

  • Qlusters Inc.

  • Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW)

  • SWsoft Inc.

  • Virtual Iron Software Inc.

  • VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)

  • XenSource Inc.

    — James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

    "Gigabit Ethernet: Blade Servers Fuel Storage Democracy" is available as part of an annual subscription to Byte and Switch Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900.

    To subscribe, or for more information, please visit: For more information about all of Light Reading Inc.'s Insider research services, please visit request a free executive summary of the report, or for details on multi-user licensing options, please contact:

    Lee Salem

    Sales Director
    Heavy Reading Enterprise
    [email protected]

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