Choose Your Blade
A business case for BladeCenter technology focusing on integration with IBM i
Illustration by Scott Dawson
Which BladeCenter solution is right for you?
It’s been an exciting year for the IBM i community, and one major contributing factor is the flood of IBM BladeCenter* announcements. Running i on a POWER6* processor-based blade inside an IBM BladeCenter chassis broadens the choices for i customers. You now can choose how and on what type of server platform to deploy the operating system you know and love along with your x86 applications.
In this article, I intend to provide a high-level description of the three solutions where IBM i and BladeCenter technology come together and give some decision factors for why you’d choose one solution over another.
IBM i integration with BladeCenter technology—This is IBM’s most integrated solution, where you can run i on a traditional rack or tower POWER6 processor-based system and the operating system provides all of the storage for the x86 blades in a BladeCenter H, E or S chassis. Various network operating systems (Windows*, VMware and x86 Linux*) run on the x86 servers and i provides storage-area network (SAN) functionality for these blades using the iSCSI technology. This solution has many benefits, such as simple storage management, single point of backup and recovery, enhanced availability and more. See “A Window of Opportunity” for a more in-depth look.
IBM i on a POWER6 processor-based blade in BladeCenter H chassis—Announced in January, this solution is a BladeCenter H chassis with one or more POWER6 processor-based blades mixed with other x86 blades, up to a total of 14 blades. IBM i runs on the POWER6 processor-based blade. The network operating systems run on the x86 blades. A SAN provides the storage for this solution. The SANs currently supported for IBM i are the DS4700, DS4800, DS8100 and DS8300. The SAN requirement means this solution is typically for mid-sized customers. It has the advantages of having all of the servers in a single chassis and using the same SAN as the x86 servers.
IBM i on a POWER6 processor-based blade in BladeCenter S chassis—Announced in April, this solution is a BladeCenter S chassis containing one or more POWER6 processor-based blades mixed with x86 blades, up to a total of six blades. IBM i runs on the POWER6 processor-based blade and the network operating systems run on the x86 blades. The BladeCenter S chassis provides its own storage for this solution with up to 12 drives totaling more than 3 TB when using the 300 GB drives. The x86 blades can use the local drives on the blade for storage for their workloads. The limited number of available drives makes this solution well suited to smaller customers. It has the advantages of having all of the servers and the storage in a single chassis, and IBM has packaged a special IBM i Edition Express for BladeCenter S (see “A New Integration Paradigm”).
The New IBM POWER6 Blade Servers
Designed for virtualization and performance, the BladeCenter JS12 and JS22 blades feature IBM’s latest POWER6 processor technology—the world’s fastest microprocessor. Couple that superior performance with Power* Systems software, like built-in IBM PowerVM* technology, and you can consolidate your IBM i, AIX and Linux applications onto POWER6 processor-based blades like never before. Table 1 (below) displays the details.
For integration, you can scale the memory to the maximums of any of the POWER5, POWER5+ or POWER6 processor-based rack or tower systems.
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