The specs for the Supermicro SuperBlade chassis and blades are nowhere near those of the Dell, HP, or IBM blade systems we tested, but then again, neither is the price. The SuperBlade is an incredibly affordable way into blade servers, and though it won't draw many oohs and aahs, it will provide a solid platform for just about any small to medium-size IT endeavor.
In our performance benchmarks, the SuperBlade was constrained by four-core AMD Opteron blades that are now several generations old. Not surprisingly, they didn't hold a candle to the brand-new Westmere-EP chips in the other vendors' products, but they did perform quite well given their limitations. These blades will continue to do just fine in small to medium-size virtualization workloads and standard server roles. If you need the performance of a Nehalem, Supermicro offers Nehalem-based blades for the SuperBlade chassis; one would expect that Westmere-based blades will be available soon as well.
[ InfoWorld compares the leading blade server solutions: "Blade server shoot-out: Dell, HP, and IBM battle for the virtual data center." ]
Chassis and blades
The Supermicro SuperBlade chassis is a 6U, 10-blade unit that seems to offer a no-frills approach to blade computing, except that there are actually a few frills here and there.