Why small, diskless servers make sense

No disk, no video, no extras -- just processors, RAM, and 10G. C'mon, hardware vendors, we need servers like this

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Each server would have optional 1.8-inch SSD slots, or just SD card slots, nothing more. There could be a common set of redundant power supplies powering all three (or potentially even four) servers. A system such as this might present some hotspot issues, but only if deployed in quantity -- I think of these units as remote site servers, or medium-size datacenter servers where there might only be a few in a rack.

With one or two triple servers in 1U, copies of VMware ESX or ESXi and an iSCSI storage array, you could have the entirety of a small-to-medium business server infrastructure in four or five rack units, no KVM required. How compelling is that?

The time has come to start taking the legacy out of our servers. Today, the vast majority of virtualized infrastructures run on 1U, 2U, or blade-based systems. They have local disk, framebuffers, and all the trimmings normally associated with single-instance servers, but they simply don't need it. Very rarely does anyone use a console on a VMware ESX or ESXi server. If they do, it's all text-based anyway, so there's no point in having a framebuffer -- a serial console is perfectly functional for these requirements, and it's simpler to access.

When talking about substantially virtualized infrastructures, we're trying to drag race with Humvees, and it's costing us money left and right. The next step is to get a real dragster and start wringing as much out of virtualization as we can.

This story, "Why small, diskless servers make sense," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in servers, and read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog at InfoWorld.com.

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