Harvard Research Group Assess Cisco UCS 5100 and IBM BladeCenter H

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  • This is BS. You should mention that IBM funded this paper. BladeCenter H uses the same technology IBM developed 8 years ago for the original BCS. Nothing new there.
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Harvard Research Group Assess Cisco UCS 5100 and IBM BladeCenter H

  1. 1. HRG AssessmentCisco UCS 5100 and IBM BladeCenter HIntroductionToday’s new workloads require High Performance, High Availability, and rapid scaling capabilities. Two key concernsare transactional latency and bottlenecking associated with fail over, migration, and the movement of a single VirtualMachine (VM) or group of VMs from one processor core to another. IT professionals need to prepare for significantchange resulting from the rolling adoption of Virtualization, Cloud Computing, and Data Management software likeHadoop, Memcached, and NoSql.The requirement to scale systems to meet customer demand, retain and grow existing customer relationships, staycompetitive, and support new products is driving IT change. Continual pressure to reduce operational and capitalexpenditures while improving IT quality of service is behind many current business and technology changes.Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) 5100 Blade System and IBM’s BladeCenter H are both easy to configure, easyto scale, easy to manage, integrated blade server systems. However, there are important differences between the twosolutions. This assessment is based on publicly available information including marketing and sales materials, videos,pod casts, and vendor briefings.Summary • The Cisco approach is an “appliance approach” where the management software (UCS Manager) and hardware (UCS 6120, 6140, and 6248 Fabric Interconnects) are sold as an integrated and inseparable package. Cisco embeds their UCS Manager software in the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect switches. Currently, the only way to get UCS Manager is to buy one of these switches. Cisco UCS Manager is a device manager that only manages Cisco Blades, Rack Mount Servers, and other UCS components. • Cisco does not sell system level management and monitoring software instead relying on BMC, EMC, CA, IBM and others to fill this void. • Cisco UCS Manager does not offer Predictive Failure Analysis. However, if a Cisco UCS B-series blade server is set up correctly and fails, the failure will initiate a VMotion to move workloads off of the failed blade to a healthy blade. However, from everything we have read it appears that this action will only be taken after a failure has occurred. • Cisco provides a highly customizable set of XML APIs so that developers and system level software, tools, and utilities providers can integrate their offerings with Cisco UCS Manager. BMC software can workCopyright © 2011 Harvard Research Group, Inc.
  2. 2. Harvard Research Group, Inc. through Cisco UCS Manager to stand up, provision, and manage UCS Blade and Rack mount servers as well as Virtual Machines on those servers. • Cisco Blades and Rack mount servers are Intel only. Cisco UCS Manager only manages Cisco Blade and Rack mount servers. • The Cisco UCS solution only offers converged Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) within the Cisco UCS 5100 chassis and not native Fibre Channel. • In addition to Intel based BladeCenter blades IBM also offers Power6 and Power7 based blades all of which are plug and play integrated within the BladeCenter H chassis. • IBM Systems Director is a standalone software product, a rich device manager, a performance monitor, and a Predictive Failure Analysis (PFA) and alerting tool. IBM Systems Director works with all IBM servers and non-IBM X86 servers to stand up, provision and manage servers, as well as, the virtual machines on those servers. • Due to the architectural differences between IBM’s Blade Center and Cisco’s UCS Blade System, it takes longer to evacuate VM’s from a failing UCS Blade or Rack Mount server to a healthy server than it would take with IBM BladeCenter H. This is because all blade-to-blade and chassis to chassis traffic within a Cisco UCS management domain is routed through the Fabric Interconnect top of rack switch. • IBM offers system level software, tools, and utilities including IBM Systems Director and IBM Tivoli offerings for system monitoring, management, automation, management of Converged Data Center infrastructure, and integration across heterogeneous environments. • IBM Blades and Rack mount servers are Intel, AMD, Power, and System z and all can be managed by IBM Systems Director and IBM Tivoli software offerings. In addition, IBM Systems Director can integrate and manage non-IBM x86 servers including Cisco UCS.Cisco UCSThe Cisco UCS approach is an “appliance approach” where the software (UCS Manager) and hardware (UCS 6120,6140, and 6248 Fabric Interconnects) are sold as an integrated and inseparable package. For a pure play Cisco IT shop,this level of abstraction significantly reduces the time spent in software and hardware deliberation, selection, installation,and implementation. Another benefit for Cisco customers is that they can take a simplified Lego-like approach to scaleout. If the IT infrastructure is heterogeneous, and based on open standards, customers should consider how a systemlike the UCS Blade System will be integrated and managed as part of a heterogeneous data center environment.The Cisco UCS Blade System represents a fixed physical architecture that could limit the ultimate flexibility of thissolution. This Cisco UCS 5108 chassis based solution requires 2 identical Top of Rack Fabric Interconnect switches(the 20 port 6120, the 40 port 6140, or the 32 port 6248 Cisco Switches) in order to provide redundancy and areasonable degree of availability at the Layer 2 Fabric Interconnect Switch level.The Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis is 6 rack units (6RU) high. A 42U rack can fit 2 Fabric Interconnectswitches and 6 Cisco UCS Blade chassis. A chassis can accommodate 2 Fabric Extenders, the 2104 with 4 uplink ports,or the 2208 with 8 uplink ports, and up to 8 half-width, or 4 full-width Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers. Cisco serversare currently only available with Intel processors and UCS Manager only manages Cisco UCS certified hardware.Each of the 2 FEX pass-through switches (they do not route traffic) in each Cisco UCS Blade chassis is connected tothe south side server ports on one of the Fabric Interconnects. Two Fabric Extenders (FEX) are required by Cisco foravailability and fail over purposes. Each FEX has either 4 or 8 north bound 10 Gb uplink ports depending on thespecific model. The same number of uplink ports on each FEX must be connected to the south side ports on each ofCopyright © 2011 Harvard Research Group, Inc page 2
  3. 3. Harvard Research Group, Inc.the Fabric Interconnect (FI) switches such that FEX A will connect only to FI A and FEX B will only connect to FI Bin order to preserve system availability, fail over capability and redundancy throughout the Fabric path.The Cisco recommended UCS Blade system configuration calls for each FEX in a 5108 chassis to be connected to onlyone Fabric Interconnect switch. For the UCS Blade system to deliver its maximum throughput, all uplink ports on eachFEX must be connected to one or the other Fabric Interconnect. A configuration with 2 UCS 6248 UP FabricInterconnects set up in an active/standby configuration and with 2 UCS 2208 FEX installed in each UCS 5108 chassiscould only support 4 5108 chassis or 32 half width B-Series blades in a maximum bandwidth configuration. Each 6248Fabric Interconnect only has 32 ports available for connection to FEX if the optional expansion module ports are usedas uplink ports.If a customer requires maximum scale out of capacity, an option is to use only one of the available uplinks on eachFEX. In such a configuration, 2 UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnects running in a passive/standby configuration couldsupport up to 32 UCS 5108 chassis or 256 half-width B series blades. This configuration requires the purchase on of anoptional expansion module to handle northbound traffic from the 6248. If a customer has a configuration like the onejust described, they run the risk of unacceptable levels of transactional latency, over subscription of ports, andbottlenecking on the south side of the 6248.In this scenario, each FEX connects to 8 UCS B series blade servers through the 5108 chassis mid-plane. Basically the10 Gb converged FCoE Fabric is brought to each FEX through cables plugged into 8 of the south side ports on eachof the UCS Fabric Interconnects thereby extending the Cisco 10 Gb FCoE converged network fabric as well as theUCS Manager bi-directional system level communications from the 6248 switch to the in-chassis 2208 FEX, and thenfrom there via the 5108 chassis mid-plane connecting to the B Series Blades.Each of the Fabric Extenders within a UCS 5108 chassis connects to a different top of rack Fabric Interconnect toensure that there are redundant 10 Gb Cisco converged fabric paths in the event that either one of the FEX or one ofthe Fabric Interconnect switches fails. The 2 Fabric Interconnect switches are run in active/standby configuration.Only one Fabric Interconnect is actively switching traffic while the other is waiting in standby mode to take over in theevent of a failure. Customers may experience a slight delay in the event of a failover while the standby switch takes overfrom the then failed switch. Additional delay may be experienced, as an actual failure has to occur before failover canbe implemented, which means any in-flight transactions may be delayed. This type of architecture, while advantageousfor availability, is not optimal when it comes to the potential for physical port and virtual port over subscription ofNorth bound resources by the VMs residing within the 5108 chassis.Another consideration is that with only one Fabric Interconnect in active mode if you are running multiple hightransaction workloads on the B Series servers in the chassis you run the risk of increased latency at the FabricInterconnect. It is specifically for this reason that the Cisco UCS 5108 based solution is not a good fit for many highperformance and high transaction rate workloads nor is it appropriate for VM based high transaction rate workloads as,in such a scenario, a customer could run the very real risk of over subscription and increased transactional latencyoccurring simultaneously.Customers should be aware that there is no native Fibre Channel connectivity available within the Cisco UCS 5108chassis or within the rack that contains the chassis. However, there is Native Fibre Channel connectivity that isavailable on the North side of the Fabric Interconnect switch if an appropriate expansion module is purchased. If acustomer is currently running native Fibre Channel for SAN connectivity from individual rack mount or blade serversthey will need to migrate to a converged 10 Gb FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) Cisco fabric. For customersdoing net new installations, this lack of true Fibre Channel connectivity may not pose a problem.Copyright © 2011 Harvard Research Group, Inc page 3
  4. 4. Harvard Research Group, Inc.End Host ModeUCS Fabric Interconnects are configured to initially “power up” into what Cisco calls “End-Host Mode” which doesnot use Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) to make routing decisions. Running in End Host Mode, the Fabric Interconnectdoes not consume CPU resources to do STP calculations nor send and receive Bridge Protocol Data Units (BPDU). Ifa customer needs a standard Layer 2 STP switch, a software configuration change can be made after which the switchneeds to be rebooted before it can be used in standard Layer 2 switch mode running the Spanning Tree Protocol.Even when running in End Host Mode, the Fabric Interconnect will use MAC (Media Access Control) address learningand behave as a Layer 2 switch for local traffic. For one blade to communicate with any other blade in the same chassisor another blade in another chassis in the same physical rack, that traffic has to be routed from the first blade up to theTop of Rack FI switch and then from that switch, it is routed to the second blade. In this manner, the Cisco UCSarchitecture introduces additional latency during blade-to-blade and chassis-to-chassis messaging.Layer 2 switching behavior for all UCS systems below the Fabric Interconnect will result in increased latency whencompared to other blade systems that allow direct blade-to-blade communications within the same chassis or within thesame rack but on different chassis. This increased latency is of particular interest when moving VMs from one physicalserver to another physical server as in the case of the evacuation of VMs from a failing server to a healthy server. Inthis instance, any increased latency will have an impact on the level of service provided by VMs being migrated whilehandling workloads and in-flight transactions.The current version of Cisco UCS Manager, when configured to run in End Host Mode, allows the use of FCoE toconnect a storage array directly to the Fabric Interconnect. In this configuration, Cisco End Host Mode is used to pin anorth side Fabric Interconnect port to a VSAN (Virtual Storage Area Network) based storage array. However, with thisconfiguration, it will not be possible to perform either LUN (Logical Unit Number) masking nor do normal storageZoning as they would if the Fabric Interconnect switch were run in normal Layer 2 switch mode with STP enabled.Configuring the Fabric Interconnect to run as a Layer 2 switch running STP could serve to exacerbate the effect oftransaction latency due to additional loading on the switch based CPU, as it would be required to generate, send, andreceive BPDUs.One additional bandwidth related concern derives from the observation that the Cisco UCS architecture funnels andaggregates all I/O transactional and management traffic through a single Top of Rack Fabric Interconnect switch. Thisshould be of interest to those customers planning on running a highly virtualized, memory intensive workloadenvironment with the number of VMs dynamically fluctuating as work load and capacity requirements ramp based onbusiness requirements. Our recommendation to customers considering such a solution is to do rigorous modeling ofworkloads, capacity requirements, transaction and bandwidth requirements in order to avoid any potential Quality ofService or Service Level Agreement surprises.UniformityThe uniformity of the available Cisco UCS B series blades are both a benefit and a limitation. The fact that you canintegrate Cisco C series rack mount servers into the same UCS management domain as Cisco B Series Blade Servers is areal benefit for those workloads that require the performance and capacity of a Rack Mounted server. Regardinguniformity, the Cisco UCS system is a Cisco only solution. This means that UCS Manager can only manage CiscoSwitches, Blades, Rack Mount servers, CNAs, and in chassis fabric extenders.According to Cisco, UCS provides predictable levels of latency or predictable performance regardless of the physicallocation of a workload or blade server as long as they are in the same rack because it takes a predictable amount of time(latency) to be accessed through the Fabric Interconnect. Customers are advised to consider whether predictablelatency is appropriate for their workloads or if what they really need is reduced (low) latency.Copyright © 2011 Harvard Research Group, Inc page 4
  5. 5. Harvard Research Group, Inc.B-Series M2 Blade serversCurrently Cisco offers the following blade servers for use in their Cisco UCS 5108 blade chassis. • Cisco UCS B440 M2 – Intel® Xeon® based blade server • Cisco UCS B250 M2 – Intel® Xeon® based blade server • Cisco UCS B230 M2 – Intel® Xeon® based blade server • Cisco UCS B200 M2 – Intel® Xeon® based blade serverCisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers Model # Processor Cores Max GHz Max Sockets DIMMs Max Mem GB Blades per 5108 chassisUCS B440 M2 Intel® Xeon 10 2.4 4 32 512 4UCS B250 M2 Intel® Xeon 6 3.46 2 48 384 4UCS B230 M2 Intel® Xeon 10 2.4 2 32 512 8UCS B200 M2 Intel® Xeon 6 3.46 2 12 192 8Cisco UCS ManagerCisco UCS Manager’s embedded device management software manages the software and hardware components of theCisco Unified Computing System ™ across multiple chassis and virtual machines through a Java based GUI, a CLI(command-line interface), or an XML (Extensible Markup Language) Application Programming Interface (API).Service Profiles in the UCS Manager application can be used to set up and configure stateless Intel Xeon based CiscoBlades, Rack mount servers, and virtual machines. Service Profile settings can be ‘moved’ with a virtual machine whenit is moved using VMware’s VMotion in the case of a server failure or when reallocating capacity to satisfy changingworkload requirements.The XML APIs for the UCS Manager application can be used by 3rd party management tools. Using these APIs DataCenter Management software from BMC, CA, EMC, and IBM can provision and decommission servers based ondemand. Currently, only BMC and EMC use these APIs to this extent. However, IBM Tivoli will soon have thiscapability (currently in beta testing) allowing Cisco UCS compute pods or islands of computing to be integrated into abroader, more heterogeneous, Converged Data Center environment.Cisco UCS Manager Service Profiles are created by server, network, and storage administrators and stored on the UCSFabric Interconnect in an object based data store. Cisco UCS Manager discovers UCS devices that are added, moved,or removed from the UCS system. This information, added to the UCS Manager’s inventory (a light weight CMDB), issaved on the Fabric Interconnect switch. UCS Manager uses this information when deploying Service Profiles to newlydiscovered resources. When a Service Profile is deployed UCS Manager configures the server, adapters, fabricextenders, fabric interconnects, NICs, HBAs, LAN, and SAN switches. Service Profiles can also be used to enableVirtual Network Link (VN-Link) capabilities for VN-Link supported hypervisors.Cisco UCS supports the VMware ESX, ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, and KVM hypervisors. Cisco’s implementation ofVMware virtualization uses a UCS specific proprietary version of ESXi. This lets ESX and ESXi run directly on theUCS system hardware, without additional software, providing hypervisor functionality to host guest operating systemssuch as Windows or Linux on the physical server.Cisco UCS Manager enables Fibre Channel over Ethernet in the UCS internal fabric and preserves traditional Ethernetand Fibre Channel connectivity to LAN and SAN environments North of the Fabric Interconnect. However, there isno true Fibre Channel connectivity South of the Fiber Interconnect and there is no true Fibre Channel connectivitywithin the UCS Blade system chassis.Copyright © 2011 Harvard Research Group, Inc page 5
  6. 6. Harvard Research Group, Inc.Cisco UCS Manager is a device or element management application that is only available from Cisco with the purchaseof a Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect. UCS Manager handles hardware provisioning, configuration, and management butonly for UCS certified components such as Cisco B series blades and Cisco C series rack mount servers. UCS managesthese servers as stateless devices and uses XML to configure these stateless devices using UCS specific Service Profiles.Cisco UCS Manager ecosystem partners include BMC, CA, Compuware, Dynamic Ops, EMC, HP, IBM, Microsoft,SolarWinds, Symantec, VMware, and Zenoss. Those partners offering the tightest level of integration with Cisco’s UCSenvironment are EMC, BMC, and soon IBM.IBM BladeCenter HIBM BladeCenter H is an open blade architecture product design focused on processor, memory, and I/O flexibleconfiguration and open to collaboration. This open architecture enables non-IBM companies to develop and buildcompatible blades, networking and storage switches, and blade adapter cards for inclusion in the IBM BladeCenter byutilizing the Blade Open Specification.The IBM BladeCenter H chassis holds 14 blade servers integrating Power6, Power7, and Intel Blades all within thesame chassis as a single image compute resource. IBM currently offers 5 types of Blade chassis. Four IBMBladeCenter H chassis comprising 56 blades with integrated Layer 2 switching will fit into 36U of rack space in anindustry standard 42U rack leaving additional room for storage.IBM offers the following servers for use in their IBM BladeCenter H chassis. • IBM BladeCenter HX5 – Intel® Xeon® based blade server • IBM BladeCenter HS22V – Intel® Xeon® based blade server • IBM BladeCenter HS22 – Intel® Xeon® based blade server • IBM BladeCenter HS12 – Intel® Xeon® based blade server • IBM BladeCenter PS704 Express – IBM POWER7™ based blade server • IBM BladeCenter PS703 Express – IBM POWER7™ based blade server • IBM BladeCenter PS702 Express– IBM POWER7™ based blade server • IBM BladeCenter PS701 Express– IBM POWER7™ based blade server • IBM BladeCenter PS700 Express– IBM POWER7™ based blade server • IBM BladeCenter JS12 Express– IBM POWER6™ based blade server • IBM BladeCenter QS22 – IBM PowerXCell™ 8i based blade serverIBM BladeCenter offers either integrated or pass thru switching in the chassis providing customers more flexibilitywhen making architectural decisions. IBM Blades and the BladeCenter H Chassis support VMware ESXi, MicrosoftHyper-V, the open source KVM-based Red Hat RHEV-H and PowerVM virtualization hypervisors enabling datacenter consolidation and high-density compute configurations.Copyright © 2011 Harvard Research Group, Inc page 6
  7. 7. Harvard Research Group, Inc.IBM BladeCenter Blade Servers Model # Processor Cores GHz Max socket DIMMs Max Blades per Max s Mem BladeCenter H GB chassisHX5 Intel® Xeon 10 2.67 4 16 256 7HX5 Intel® Xeon 10 2.67 2 16 256 14HX5 & MAX5 Intel® Xeon 10 2.67 2 56 640 7HS22V Intel® Xeon 4 3.6 2 18 288 14HS22 Intel® Xeon 6 3.6 2 12 192 14HS12 Intel® Xeon 4 2.83 1 6 24 14PS704 Express Power7® 32 2.4 4 32 256 14PS703 Express Power7® 16 2.4 2 16 128 14PS702 Express Power7® 16 3 2 32 256 14PS701 Express Power7® 8 3 1 16 128 14PS700 Express Power7® 4 3 1 8 64 14JS12 Express Power6™ 2 3.8 1 8 64 14QS22 PowerXCell™ 8i 9 3.2 2 2 32 14With the doublewide IBM BladeCenter HX5/MAX 5 blade, complete databases can be held in memory acceleratingsystem performance and enhancing throughput by avoiding the latency associated with more traditional page swappingrequirements. The HX5/MAX5 blade delivers 640 GB of available memory. Customers can populate an entire IBMBladeCenter H chassis with 7 of these Blade servers giving 4.48 TB in a 9U footprint. The level of virtualization and in-memory data management supported by the HX5/MAX5 conserves power, saves money on licensing costs, andreduces environmental conditioning (HVAC and power) and space requirements.IBM Systems DirectorIBM Systems Director is not limited to IBM Blades and can manage other vendor’s blade, rack mount, and towerservers. IBM Systems Director discovers and provides basic management of network devices from Brocade, BNT(recently acquired by IBM), Qlogic, Cisco, and others. IBM Systems Director also tightly integrates with VMware’svCenter to provide management capabilities for VMs.IBM Systems Director manages heterogeneous IT environments including Microsoft Windows®, Intel® Linux®,Power Linux, AIX®, i5/OS®, IBM i, and System z Linux environments across System p, System i®, System x, Systemz, BladeCenter, and OpenPower®, as well as x86-based non-IBM hardware.IBM Systems Director integrates tightly with Tivoli and can report results to other tools including CA, BMC, and EMC.With IBMs Systems Director customers can pre-configure servers, remotely re-purpose systems and set up automaticupdates (including firmware updates) and recoveries. Systems Director provides either a browser based or commandline interface for visualizing managed systems, how they are interrelated, and displaying system status. Systems Directorcommon tasks include: discovery, inventory, configuration, system health, monitoring, updates, event notification andautomation across managed systems. • IBM Systems Director VMControl manages virtual environments across multiple virtualization technologies and hardware platforms providing visibility and control. VM Control Express is a free Systems director plug in • IBM Systems Director’s Predictive Failure Analysis feature monitors system health and generates alerts before failure occurs. Alerts trigger preventative action by system administrators or through automation to avoid a service outage. Components monitored include: CPUs, Memory, Hard disk drives, Voltage regulator modules, Power supply units, temperature sensors, and Fans. IBM passes PFAs toCopyright © 2011 Harvard Research Group, Inc page 7
  8. 8. Harvard Research Group, Inc. VMware via Systems Director so vCenter can move the VMs off the server and maintenance can be performed with no downtime. • IBM Systems Director Active Energy Manager™ monitors and manages the actual energy usage across systems and facilities within the data center in order to maintain service availability within specified energy use parameters. • IBM Systems Director Network Control provides integration of server, storage, and network management for virtualization environments across platforms. IBM Systems Director Network Control will discover, manage, monitor, configure network devices, and enable a unified view of network management tasks.IBM Systems Director and IBM Tivoli manage multiple operating systems, virtualization technologies (VMware, KVM,Hyper-V, PowerVM, and/or zVM), IBM platforms, and non-IBM platforms including servers, desktop computers,workstations, notebook computers, storage subsystems, and SNMP devices.IBM Tivoli®IBM Tivoli® software provides systems security, storage, monitoring and configuration capabilities. Tivoli incorporatesopen systems standards and automation.Expect an IBM Tivoli UCS monitoring and management agent to be announced toward the end of 2012. Thistechnology is currently part of an Open Beta program. The UCS agent establishes a link with the Cisco UCS Managergaining access to system level information collected by UCS. Through this agent, Tivoli monitors UCS performance,health, and capacity trending providing a view of application performance. Tivoli will monitor, aggregate up into abusiness service view, and visualize hypervisor, application, physical hardware, operating system, storage and networkperformance for the Cisco UCS systems. The information collected by the Systems Director UCS agent such ashardware metrics, hardware load events, and more will be funneled to Tivoli NetCool Omnibus that will act as a pipe tofunnel System Director UCS agent information to higher-level Tivoli products for monitoring, analysis, andmanagement. Tivoli software will be able to manage UCS Manager’s health as an application and, if there is a serverfailure, identify which VMs and applications are impacted and then initiate a VMotion to move those VMs to a healthysystem. IBM currently has access to event information from the UCS Manager through the available UCS APIs. Inaddition, IBM has very tight integration throughout the entire VMware stack.IBM BladeCenter Open Fabric Manager (BOFM)According to IBM, Blade Center Open Fabric Manager can manage the I/O and network interconnects for up to 256BladeCenter chassis and up to 3584 blade servers. BladeCenter Open Fabric Manager installed on IBM’s AdvancedManagement Module (AMM), lets customers pre-configure their LAN and SAN connections so that I/O expansioncard connections are made automatically assigning or reassigning Ethernet MAC addresses and Fibre Channel WWNaddresses whenever a blade is brought on-line or repurposed.With BladeCenter Open Fabric Manager installed, the AMM can assign boot device addresses and VLAN tags toindividual devices. Later these assignments can be changed to provide for dynamic provisioning, resourcereconfiguration, and blade replacement in the case of a failover. IBM BladeCenter Open Fabric supports openstandards and industry interoperability across multiple I/O fabrics, including Ethernet, iSCSI, Fibre Channel overEthernet (FCoE), Fibre Channel, InfiniBand and Serial attached SCSI (SAS).Each BladeCenter H chassis comes with one hot swappable AMM that is used to configure and manage all installedBladeCenter components. BladeCenter H supports the installation of a second, redundant AMM that is recommendedCopyright © 2011 Harvard Research Group, Inc page 8
  9. 9. Harvard Research Group, Inc.for enhanced system availability. Only one advanced management module can control the BladeCenter system at atime. The AMM provides notification when the primary and standby Advanced Management Modules are established,and when a fail over automatically occurs.The Advanced Management Module communicates with each blade server to support features such as blade serverpower-on requests, error and event reporting as well as controlling Ethernet and serial port connections for remotemanagement access.With regard to integrated systems, customers today are making plans to move to more integrated systems usingConverged Fabric that supports NAS, iSCSI, FCoE, and automated virtualization. Using IBM Systems Director, withOpen Fabric Manager customers can integrate BladeCenter, Cluster 1350, and iDataPlex for scale up, scale out, or acombination depending on workload requirements.IBM Virtual FabricIBM® Virtual Fabric for IBM BladeCenter is based on the IBM BladeCenter H with 10Gb Converged EnhancedEthernet switch modules in the chassis and the Emulex or Broadcom Virtual Fabric Adapters in each blade server.This configuration delivers up to 20Gb of bandwidth to each blade. Each Virtual Fabric Adapter can split bandwidthbetween as many as eight virtual NICs (vNICs).With IBM System x and BladeCenter, Virtual Fabric solutions from BNT (IBM), Brocade, and Cisco the same networkhardware can act as Ethernet, iSCSI, FCoE, Fibre Channel or iSCSI and bandwidth can be allocated in increments from100Mb to 10Gb. • Pre-configure over 11,000 LAN and SAN connections once for each blade server. • Manage up to 256 chassis and up to 3,584 blade servers from a single Advanced Management Module. • Virtualize any 10Gb Ethernet, iSCSI, or FCoE switch using Virtual Fabric. • Intelligent Failure Monitoring enables automatic fail over between physical or virtual ports in the event of uplink port failure.ConclusionCisco UCS is a good fit for general business workloads, but is not a good fit for many of today’s mission criticalworkloads where reduced transactional latency is a requirement. Cisco’s Intel centric approach to the Blade market,while highly simplified and easy to understand, is not a particularly good fit for many of today’s edge of the web, latencysensitive, Big Data applications.IBM’s BladeCenter H is well suited for high transaction rate workloads requiring low latency as well as for manyemerging edge of the web Big Data applications. The flexibility of the IBM Blade Center H solution makes it anattractive option to the fixed architecture approach of some manufacturers. This increased level of flexibility makesBlade Center H a good fit for a broad range of compute requirements. For example: new workloads including messagepassing HPC, Grid, risk management, and next generation Big Data applications in today’s highly competitive globalmarkets.Copyright © 2011 Harvard Research Group, Inc page 9
  10. 10. Harvard Research Group, Inc. Harvard Research Group Harvard, MA 01451 USA Tel. (978) 456-3939 Tel. (978) 925-5187 e-mail: hrg@hrgresearch.com http://www.hrgresearch.com BLW03026-USEN-00Copyright © 2011 Harvard Research Group, Inc page 10

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