Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

IBM BladeCenter S – Virtual DC in a Box


There is a detailed post here from IT2.0 on the IBM BladeCenter S, it shows how the chassis itself can contain disks and RAID’ed SAS controllers and works with vMotion/HA etc. and could potentially run up to 100 VM’s within 7U (no mention of power – which is more interesting to me).

If I read it correctly, that means you can integrate your blade servers and storage fabric within the same modular IBM chassis and it doesn’t require any external SAN storage or the use of one or more traditional server blades to “head-end” the storage (via iSCSI/NFS).

The pitch is around the SMB market, but I can see a wider application; if you are building internal cloud type infrastructures you might not get the budget to implement enterprise-type storage from day 1 as it requires a large up-front capital expenditure in FC/iSCSI switches, high performance disk arrays etc. particularly if you need something that will scale vertically to the large capacities or bandwidth that large VM estates require.

This type of approach could be ideal for horizontal scaling in reasonably priced “chunks” of capacity. If IBM (or a 3rd party vendor) were to introduce a storage replication bridge between the storage in two or more of these units then you could well be into a modular architecture for virtualization that would scale out to google-esque levels of world-domination in small, bite-sized chunks.

So far I’ve not seen anything similar from HP for the c-class blades – just storage blades that map 1:1 to an individual server blade via the PCI backplane.

4 responses to “IBM BladeCenter S – Virtual DC in a Box

  1. Massimo Re Ferre' November 24, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Your understanding of the architecture is correct.
    The “100” VMs was a high level estimate that assumed an average of 15+ VMs per single blade (6 can be hosted inside the BC-S). Obviously this is an estimate as sizing it’s a function of the VMs profile etc etc.

    Your “cloud scenario” is interesting.


    • vinf January 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm

      Cool, appreciate what you are sayign on the sizing front – 15 VMs/blade is definitley acheiveable for most of my customer’s environments, as there aren’t too many v.high I/O requirements.

  2. larstr December 16, 2008 at 9:48 am

    That blade setup is very interesting, especially now that SAS is supported for shared storage. Will IBM promote this as a pre-configured package? What is the estimated price for such a setup?

    • vinf January 13, 2009 at 3:26 pm

      delayed reply I’m afraid – I don’t have any specific knowledge of IBM’s plans for this platform I’m afraid – as for price it would depend on where in the world you are, so you’re probably best off discussing with a local IBM reseller.

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