Flexing your modular muscle
By Randy Groves (October 2002)
Tightened IT budgets and overall economic uncertainty have led many enterprises to bring their computing resources back to the data center. By consolidating servers, IT departments can support the same number of users with less equipment, simplify system administration, and significantly reduce total cost of ownership (TCO). DellTM modular server architectures add much-needed fuel to this trend, giving IT professionals the tools to provide greater computing capacity within increasingly limited budgets.
Modularity delivers flexibility
Five years ago, finding rack-mountable, Intel® -based servers was virtually impossible. Last year, more than half of the Dell PowerEdgeTM servers sold were optimized for racks. Indeed, server real estate is at a premium, and now Dell modular architectures take consolidation and data center optimization to a whole new level.
Modular architectures break existing server components into easily manageable pieces, called server blades and modular blades. A standard, rack-mounted chassis can contain several server blades—cards that include processors, memory, hard disks, and integrated network connections. Several server blades stack side by side within a common chassis and also share infrastructure elements such as power and cabling.
Modular blades, on the other hand, are individual building blocks used to create an entirely new server. We have processor and memory blades, storage blades, and I/O blades that IT professionals can mix and match based on the needs of their applications. For example, if an organization wants dedicated storage for an application, it might create a server with one processor and memory blade and three storage blades. Modular blades also fit into the same standard chassis and share common infrastructure elements.
Flexibility can lead to lower costs, higher availability
Modular computing can help substantially reduce TCO. First, by sharing common resources, modular servers can cost less than the equivalent number of rack servers. Second, integrated components, reduced cabling, and the Dell OpenManageTM software suite help administrators to be more productive by streamlining system deployment, maintenance, and management. Third, these systems are designed to occupy less space and consume less power, further reducing operating costs.
The modular approach also enables administrators to improve uptime and add capacity on demand. If a blade fails, they can unplug it from the chassis and replace it with a functioning blade in a matter of minutes. If administrators need more server blades for a particular application, they can simply plug new blades into the chassis.
Dell delivers continuous value
Enterprise customers need more than just a good server at a low price. They need a solid partner for all of their technology needs. In addition to our industry-leading services and support, Dell offers consulting services that assess a customer's current environment and make recommendations in areas such as server and storage consolidation, UNIX® -to-Linux® migration, disaster recovery, and business continuance. We remain focused on providing servers, storage, systems management, and service offerings that help our customers reduce TCO and improve ROI for their businesses.
About the author: Randy Groves is a vice president and co-general manager of the Dell Enterprise Systems Group. He holds joint responsibility for the worldwide development and marketing of Dell enterprise server, storage, and software products.