“Our better thimble may leave you humble”

There has been some discussion about whether Cisco’s blade server is yet another blade server, or whether it offers any significant competitive edge to Cisco over competition.

Some have panned the Cisco Blade Server as:

“High Point of datacenter is a bladeserver” – however, they are missing the point.

According to the Register:

“It is a fair guess – and Cisco isn’t saying – that both blades use custom motherboards, since the memory expansion ASIC that the formerly  independent Nuova Systems created, and which will,  according to Malagrino, allow up to four times the maximum main memory per server that standard Nehalem machines will allow, has to be wired between the processor and the memory subsystems in the QuickPath Interconnect scheme. “

If Cisco can deliver blade servers that support 384 GB or 576 GB of

main memory for two sockets, this California box will be a screamer on virtualized workloads.  “

The thrust of the argument is unassailable- however, I have two caveats with this analysis. One is that it is not officially announced by Cisco. That means the technology promised here may get introduced but not in the very first release. The competitive advantage of  a much bigger memory can also be lost, as competition matches the servers.

The other problem is that for many database and Java Application servers, I do not know if a dual socket Nehalem box can effectively use the 576 GB of memory. I see quite a lot of virtual servers getting CPU starved.

Overall, I think the competition clearly has to prove that the Cisco server is yet another blade server, rather than make empty claims about their server being the better server. Cisco certainly has not introduced “yet another blade server”.

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Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 1:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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