What's in Your Blade Server?

By integrating SAN switches directly into their blade servers, vendors could improve the performance of storage and server processing. But beware: Interoperability is still an issue.

November 12, 2004

1 Min Read
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The HP-Brocade partnership is excellent news if you're primarily a Brocade customer, but if not, it may be a bit off the mark. Multivendor interoperability has improved in the Fiber Channel SAN environment, but it's still not a sure thing. If you want to take advantage of the HP-Brocade SAN switch integration, you must ensure that your existing SAN equipment works with Brocade equipment. If both Brocade and your current SAN vendor say they are interoperable with the other, then you're probably OK.

The HP-Brocade partnership is not the first announcement of integrated SAN switches in blade servers, and it won't be the last. In fact, all the major blade-server vendors should seek integration with the major FC SAN switch vendors. Blade servers and SANs must work in concert, and enterprises need direct support for whichever SAN they've implemented, not "interoperable" solutions. FC vendors don't have a great track record for interoperability, though the situation is improving.What can you do until your SAN switch vendor integrates with your chosen blade-server vendor? First, delay purchasing a blade server until you get native support for your SAN vendor. Second, buy the blade server and wire it into your existing infrastructure--it will require more cables, but the extra expense isn't extravagant. Third, check vendor interoperability claims. If blade-server vendors say their built-in switch will work with your SAN, hold their feet to the fire while you implement and test.

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