Blade Servers and the Density Dilemma

High-density blade server installations sometimes create as many problems as they solve, according to Microsoft's James Hamilton.

Are blade servers the answer? That depends upon the question, and some data center operators should be asking more questions before looking to blades, according to Microsoft's James Hamilton. High-density blade server installations can create as many problems as they solve, James argues in a thorough examination of server density on his Perspectives blog.

Hamilton points out that filling racks with blade servers can result in rack power loads of 25kW and beyond, which usually leads to liquid cooling solutions - which may not have been factored into the original cost/benefit analysis for the blade servers. It's an informative look at power, space, cooling and PUE in evaluating the cost of optimizing your data center.

"I’m not saying that there aren’t good reason to buy high density server designs," Hamilton writes. "I’ve seen many. What I’m arguing is that many folks that purchase blades, don’t need them. The arguments explaining the higher value often don’t stand scrutiny. Many experience cooling problems after purchasing blade racks. ... In short, many data center purchases don’t really get the 'work done per dollar' scrutiny that they should get."

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