Sun's newest server: Dynamite comes in small packages
Sun Blade 6000 offers plenty of bang for the buckFollow @pvenezia
The Intel and AMD blades also offer an internal CompactFlash slot, which is a nice touch, considering that there are no internal USB headers within the blade itself. This will come in handy for a variety of applications, predominately for the upcoming Flash-based VMware V3i product. Use of the CompactFlash interface in this fashion will preclude the need for hard drives in the blades, which will reduce heat generation and power consumption while essentially removing the problem of disk failure.
In the lab, I had a Sun Blade 6000 chassis with six blades (two each of the X6250, X6220, and T6300 models), two Network Express Modules, and four dual-gigabit Express Modules. This equates to four blades with four gigabit NICs each, and two blades with two gigabit NICs. I worked with a variety of operating systems, from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.5, CentOS 5, VMware ESX Server 3.0.1 and 3.0.2, to Solaris 10, Windows Server 2003 Standard and R2. I used 32- and 64-bit versions of each. I didn't run into any problems with driver incompatibilities that couldn't be rectified with a few updated drivers, and most of the newer releases found all the hardware without issue, including VMware ESX 3.0.1 on the Intel and AMD blades.
One of the features I found very useful on the Sun Blade 8000 chassis was the Chassis Management Module's Web interface. In the 8000 series, you can pull up this module in a Web browser and use it as a clearinghouse of sorts, jumping to any one blade, or several, and getting a graphical overview of the entire chassis. This Web interface isn't available on the 6000 series, however, and is strictly command-line. It's unfortunate to lose that capability.
Each blade has an ILO management card embedded in it, however, that drives like any of the Sun Galaxy server management cards, offering a Web interface with out-of-band power controls and console redirection. The console redirection available in the AMD-based blades, dubbed JavaRConsole, is simply stellar, offering a fully graphical console based on a Java applet that works flawlessly. It offers virtual CD and floppy support and accurate mouse tracking.
I've run it on Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows clients. Unfortunately, the Intel-based blades diverged from JavaRConsole to the Java Remote KVM applet. I had problems getting it to work under anything but Windows and a specific version of Java for Linux, with the applet either failing to load or showing nothing but a blank screen.
With the systems that I did get it to run on, the mouse tracking seemed less stable, multiple sessions in a single applet apparently weren't supported, and the overall experience was not as good as that of the older version found on the Opteron blades. It's curious to me why Sun would "fix" something that wasn't broken, but it seems that it has. Perhaps a firmware update in the future will rectify some of these problems.