Blade server shoot-out: Dell vs. HP vs. Sun
InfoWorld's head-to-head comparison proves blade servers are sharp enough for enterprise useFollow @pvenezia
Sun's ILOM Web interface was not only the fastest, it was also the easiest to navigate of all three solutions. Working from the chassis Web UI, a single click will launch the console application with tabs linking to each blade's local console. Nice.
Backing up the UI is a set of redundant CMMs (Chassis Management Modules). Each module can be separately linked to the network via a single gigabit NIC and all share a common IP address, providing a fast fail-over in the event of hardware problems. The local ILOM card in each blade is also accessed via internal bridging to these Ethernet ports, so these links are very important to normal chassis operation.
The Sun Blade 8000 is a masterpiece of engineering and aesthetically attractive to boot. At $100,000 as tested, it's definitely not a low-cost solution, but its focus isn't on the low-end market. This is a system that begs for a heavy workload — and delivers.
Dell PowerEdge 1955 Blade System
Common thought may lead one to believe that Dell is somewhat behind the curve in the blades world. Much more time and ink has been spent on the blade technology available from Dell's competitors, and hence, Dell doesn't enjoy the mindshare of Sun, HP, and IBM. Even we didn't expect Dell to put up too much of a blade showing.
Click for larger view.
Not only that, but the Dell PowerEdge 1955 produced the best SPEChpc numbers by far of any of the blade systems tested. Color us surprised, and not a little chagrined at our original assumptions.
Dell's high marks on the SPEChpc tests have plenty to do with the hardware, but they're also the result of heavy tweaking and preparation by the Dell engineers. It's clear they're serious about HPC performance.
The PowerEdge 1955 solution isn't quite as physically elegant as the others in this test, and it certainly lacks the panache of the HP BladeCenter's LCD panel. Dell also uses larger blades than the dual-socket HP BladeSystem c-Class, but packs quite a bit of horsepower into the 7U chassis, which is the smallest of the tested solutions.
Ten blades fit into a single Dell chassis, resulting in a single rack density of 60 dual-socket systems. With the soon-to-be-released quad-core Intel chips, this equates to 240 cores per rack, with a maximum power draw of 3.6 kW.