Feeds

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

Full height boxes ready too

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

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 Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
Disaster Recovery upstart joins DR 'as a service' gang
Quorum joins the aaS crowd with DRaaS offering
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.