Server Space Exploding? Consider Consolidating With Blades

john-gromala-hp.jpgGuest contribution by John Gromala, director of product marketing, HP Industry-Standard Servers and Software
Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) remain cautious about the economy, but continue to seek ways to grow their business amidst budget pressures.
Technology that enables their staff to be more efficient, while saving money, is critical to future success.

As you expand your computing infrastructures, you should consider server blades as an alternative to tower and rack servers.

Over the past decade, server blade technology has evolved and now offers a variety of business advantages specifically for SMBs.
Advancements in the role of server blades for SMBs include affordability, flexibility and improved compute power in a smaller footprint. Today’s blades also drive convergence —the integration of servers, storage, and networking, as well as power and cooling, to form shared pools of technology resources.

Blades can provide a complete IT infrastructure in a single chassis.

Unlike traditional stand-alone servers, a blade-based solution consists of a chassis, or blade enclosure, which can house multiple blades that can address different workload requirements or functions. Blades contain processing, memory, and disk storage, while the enclosure includes fans, power supplies and management, and can tie-in storage, as well as other technology resources. This simplified architecture reduces energy and space requirements by pooling, sharing, and centralizing management, as well as optimizing cooling and power across all blades.

Packaged as blades, more technology resources can fit into a smaller physical space than rack mount solutions. In addition, servers and other critical components, such as communications and peripheral connections, can be easily added and upgraded with minimal disruption to ensure maximum productivity.

Server blades deliver various cost benefits, as well as competitive advantages.

They are more affordable than the sum of the IT components they replace, especially when considering ongoing maintenance costs. For example, an HP BladeSystem environment could save a business up to 32% of the total cost of ownership compared with a traditional infrastructure by offering cost effective hardware coupled with lower electrical and power expenses.

With as few as two blade servers, depending on business size, SMBs can efficiently run business critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Active Directory, printing and filing, CRM and a company intranet.

As technology demands increase, SMBs can easily add blades to their infrastructure by sliding them into an existing chassis. As a result, companies eliminate complexities, as well as the increased costs, of installing a new tower or connecting a rack to power, networking, storage and management components. Addressing the increasing cost of powering IT equipment, and keeping it cool, is another key benefit of server blades for SMBs. Rack servers often require a separate room, specialized power and costly cooling needs. In comparison, entry-level server blades use low-line power outlets (110 volts) and can efficiently operate in rooms with limited air conditioning. As such, an SMB without a designated data center or computer room can locate the blade enclosure nearly anywhere in their office.
For improved monitoring and management capabilities, there are also simplified software solutions that offer IT staff, or remote IT, resources a centralized view into the entire infrastructure. Using these effective blade tools enables IT to focus more on improving the business.
In addition to the physical and cost advantages offered by blades, they deliver server virtualization and application consolidation with a balanced architecture of input /output (I/O) and memory to support growing business technology needs in the future. Blades also enable SMBs to use networked storage or a SAN to consolidate storage to support greater infrastructure efficiency.

Blades are the right solution for many SMBs due to their affordability, flexibility, space-saving capability, consolidation and efficiency, which are rapidly driving increased market adoption.

When evaluating technology that will meet business objectives in 2011 and beyond, it is an ideal time for SMBs to consider a blade solution.
About the Author
John Gromala is director of Product Marketing for HP Industry-Standard Servers and Software. In this role he is responsible for leading product definition, management and marketing for the HP BladeSystem and HP Virtual Connect product lines.