IBM cools blades with low-power Xeon

IBM cools blades with low-power Xeon

In an effort to reduce heat and power issues associated with running compact blade servers, IBM has announced it will begin shipping next month a blade server built on Intel's low-voltage Xeon processor.

IBM has also announced network and storage switches for its BladeCenter products as it continues its efforts to make it easier for users to integrate blade servers into current data center infrastructures.

One of the biggest hurdles for IT managers looking to bring blade servers into their data centers has been the fact that the dense systems use more power and generate more heat in smaller spaces than typical rack-dense servers. All the systems vendors have looked at ways to keep the systems cool, including on-server fans.

Big Blue said it was the first to offer a blade server powered by Intel's low-voltage processor, code-named "Nocona". This reduces power consumption by 50 watts per processor.

When included in IBM's dual-processor HS20 blades the power savings added up to 1.5 kilowatts per BladeCenter chassis, the company said. With the low-voltage Nocona processor, which also includes Intel's 64-bit extension technology so that both 32- and 64-bit applications can run on the server, customers will get full performance with lower power and cooling demands, according to IBM.

IBM's HS20 blade servers with Nocona will be available at the end of February. The HS20 with 2.8GHz Nocona processors will start at $US2189. A 3.6GHz model will start at $US3229.

To make it easier to integrate blades into existing infrastructures, IBM announced that both Nortel Networks and storage specialist Emulex are releasing products designed specifically for BladeCenter.

Nortel's Layer 2/3 switch is the second product to come out of a partnership Nortel and IBM forged early in 2003. The first product, a Layer 2-7 switch for BladeCenter, was introduced in the fall of 2003.

The new Nortel Layer 2/3 copper and fiber Gigabit Ethernet switching modules for BladeCenter are expected to begin shipping later this month. IBM claims the integrated switches give users better traffic routing and security capabilities within the blade chassis.

The switch, which connects to the blade servers via 14 Gigabit Ethernet ports in the chassis, provides six links to outside networks. Up to four of the switches can fit in the chassis and they can be hot-plugged into BladeCenter without disrupting workloads. The Layer 2/3 copper switch module starts at $US2299 and the fiber module starts at $US3999.

Meanwhile, Emulex has announced a Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter designed specifically for use within BladeCenter Windows and Linux environments.

Emulex said the LP1005DC was fully compatible with its entire line of HBAs and would begin shipping in the next couple of months. IBM opened the hardware specifications to BladeCenter this past fall, and Emulex is one of more than 150 companies developing products based on the specs.

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