HP c3000 BladeSystem strikes with precision
Compact and powerful system stands tall above traditional servers and storage devicesFollow @infoworld
I've never visited your server room, but I'd wager that behind every rack resides a cobweb of cables. This tangled mass isn't just unsightly; it's indicative of how IT admins are stretching the architectural limits of conventional, stand-alone servers and storage devices and facing more complicated troubleshooting and maintenance activities.
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By gradually replacing standard servers with blade systems, large datacenters can achieve easier and more effective management, all the while reducing power and cooling costs. Small datacenters have similar needs for more power-efficient, compact systems, not to mention less cluttered connections between servers and storage devices, and they could benefit from the same remedy. Until recently, though, vendors were targeting blade systems at more demanding requirements.
That's all changing. Vendors such as Sun have primed these trim servers for entry-level to midsize requirements, and attached to them a more affordable price. Joining the ranks of these lean machines is HP's BladeSystem c3000.
Unleashed last September, BladeSystem c3000 lets you pack as many as eight half-size blades into just 6U. Moreover, the unit can be loaded with serious processing power, capacious storage devices, and first-class management tools that defy alternative standalone products. It's a powerful, reliable, easy-to-manage machine. In fact, after using the BladeSystem c3000 for several weeks (check out my first impressions and photos here and here), I've become addicted.
If you have never handled a blade system, just unpacking it can be an educational -- and even fun-filled -- experience. Out of its crate, the c3000 can be stripped down to a bare chassis, which I did not only out of curiosity, but also to get its weight to a more manageable level.
Given its contained dimensions, it’s no surprise that HP nicknamed the c3000 "Shorty." Despite its small form factor, the unit hosts eight blade slots in the front for servers or storage devices, plus a DVD drive and a management console. The console has a small, slick LCD screen that you can make disappear in its own slit when not in use. In the back of the c3000, you can mount as many as six fans, six power-supply modules, and four switches that offer Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and InfiniBand connectivity.
All of the aforementioned components slide in and out easily without the need to power off the chassis. The c3000's well-designed layout also helps admins minimize cable cluttering. Components with external connections are located along the perimeter of the chassis so that their cables can be neatly routed out of the way.
In fact, two of the four slots for switches are located near the top edge of the machine; the other two are situated at the bottom edge of the enclosure. Similarly, the six power supply sockets are equally spaced along the left and right edges.