Monday Jan 15, 2007

InfoWorld's Blade Server Shootout: Sun vs HP vs Dell


InfoWorld has completed their comparative tests of Sun, HP and Dell blade servers at the University of Hawaii.  In the end, all three scored a "Very Good" rating with Sun's score coming in at 8.2 and HP and Dell both scoring an 8.3.

It is a on-message review of our blade offerings. The reviewer, Paul Venezia, notes the 19U rack size of Sun Blade 8000 Modular System, and immediately explains, "...  Sun’s take on blades is a little different: It was the only blade solution to support four CPUs per blade, and can handle 10 blades per chassis. With dual-core AMD Opteron CPUs, this equates to 160 cores in a single 42U rack."

The review goes into the details of our blade system architecture, server modules etc. with I/O options getting special attention:  "I/O options are plentiful. Each blade can handle as many as six different external I/O forms, and there are two different methods of delivering the physical I/O ports to the blades themselves."

Paul is very pleased with the virtualization capabilities: "The Sun Blade 8000’s hardware fits a virtualization build-out plan like a glove. Available I/O options are far better than the other blade systems, and the four sockets per blade, the NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) inherent in the AMD Opteron technology, and maximum RAM supported all make virtualization a foregone conclusion."
Sun Blade 8000 Modular System

Even a VMware engineer on site was very impressed with our offering, and that made to the review: "... As a VMware engineer speculated during testing the week after the blade server tests, “Wow … at standard loads with quad-core CPUs, this thing could support 600 virtual machines all by itself.” Enough said.  ..."

The system management features including N1 System Manager, ILOM Web Interface, and CMM received kudos, with Paul commenting, "Sun’s ILOM Web interface was not only the fastest, it was also the easiest to navigate of all three solutions."

We did lose a point for our numbers for SPEChpc benchmarks in comparison with other systems in play, but the review concluded, "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."

Wednesday Dec 06, 2006

Network Computing on next geration Blade servers


This morning Network Computing published its analysis of next generation Blade servers. The analysis includes a comparative hands-on review of blade servers from Sun, HP and Rackable Systems. Steve Hill, the reviewer, gave us a score of 3.9 out of 5 and a grade of B.

Even though our "score" is not the best, overall the review is quite positive on Sun. Steve was very impressed with the new design of the Sun Blade 8000 Modular System and X8400 blades and made several strong comments praising the new design.
  • "The new Sun Blade 8000 Modular System, which bears little resemblance to its 3U predecessor, incorporates one of the most interesting technology decisions we've seen to date."
  • "Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Sun Blade 8000 Modular System stems from Sun's decision to use a passive midplane concept that passes the PCI Express system bus through the system, rather than using blade-based GbE, FC or InfiniBand I/O fabrics. This design offers 40 serial links per server--or a total of 400 serial links--and provides a massive 9.7 Tbps of overall SerDes chassis bandwidth that can be designated to any combination of fabrics and I/O modules that can be mounted at the backplane."
  • "The beefy Sun Blade 8000 Modular System earned a perfect score for I/O bandwidth and could be a solid alternative to conventional servers for core-level applications, such as large Oracle or SAP environments, as well as high-performance I/O and compute-intensive apps. Its combination of four-way blades and massive bandwidth at both blade and midplane level sets a new standard for x86 blade performance and throughput."
Sun is positioned very well as a player in this blade market -- particularly for those organizations looking at alternatives to very large application environments.

It would have been great to win the shootout though...

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