Feeds

Dell conjures magic SD card for virtualizing blade server I/O

Full height boxes ready too

Boost IT visibility and business value

HP and IBM have some super fancy technology for virtualizing the I/O of their blade systems, and they sell it for thousands of dollars. Dell now has something similar - an SD card that it sells for $499 a pop.

Texas-blessed Dell last week started shipping FlexAddress, which is "enabled by a special SD card." By "enabled" and "special SD card," Dell means that it has dumped some software on an SD card that can plug into its relatively new PowerEdge M1000e blade server system. More specifically, the special SD card enables itself by fitting into the Chassis Management Controller (CMC), which is a small unit that handles some remote access and power control operations on the M1000e chassis.

The SD card holds a unique set of 208 Ethernet MAC addresses and 64 Fibre Channel world wide names, so it's handling some of the networking and storage mapping grunt work usually done on a blade-by-blade basis. With the card in the chassis, customers can remove blades and slot in new systems without needing to reconfigure the individual servers. Basically, this makes the blade chassis more, well, flexible. Networking and storage mapping is done on the chassis level instead of the individual blade level.

The technology is very, very similar to HP's Virtual Connect and IBM's Open Fabric Manager.

HP released Virtual Connect way back in Feb. 2007 and can link up to 100 of its c-Class systems together. IBM birthed Open Fabric Manager in Dec. of 2007, also providing support across 100 of its BladeCenter chassis.

Open Fabric Manager will cost you about $1,500 to $2,000 per chassis, while Virtual Connect runs about $4,500 per chassis at last check. We'd update you on HP's pricing if its Virtual Connect web site was at all useful for such a task. Then, of course, you have to pay extra for the specialized switches which slot into these blade systems.

Dell's FlexAddress technology can only stretch across two chassis, if you also use the company's Flex I/O technology. Yes, this is a limitation versus the rival offerings, and one Dell will confess to. FlexAddress, however, costs $499, and you can use regular switches with the Dell system.

On a related note, we understand that Dell will start shipping full height blades in the next few weeks. Dell has only been offering half-height blades since introducing the M1000e chassis in January. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.