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Blades vs. Dedicated Servers Opinions?

Last response: in Business Computing
December 17, 2012 12:56:43 PM

Here is my scenario; my company has designed a piece of web based software that we sell as a SAAS (software as a service) solution. Currently my approach load balanced web servers (4) and based on the DNS the requests come in by point to a different MSSQL server on the backend (4) servers. I have determined that I can handle approximately 110 concurrent users per MSSQL / IIS Server. So theoretically I can handle 440 concurrent users in my current configuration.

I will soon have to be configuring another solution in the north east datacenter and considering switching over to blades. What are your opinions of blades for this scenario and for my future semi rapid concurrent user expansion? Will most likely be adding around 50 concurrent users per month average in the next 6 months.
December 17, 2012 1:10:37 PM

loved the movie "blade" with wesley snipes in it!
December 17, 2012 1:30:54 PM

If you are planning on 50 users a month forever or at least say 3 years you will almost have to use blade servers or you will run out of space. Theyre is not a better or worse the blades have the same hardware on them same cpu ram ect. yes in a stand alone you might be able to do 4 cpu and 128 gigs of ram but for your senario you could put up to 2 8 core xeons in each blade and most likely get more that 50 users out of that. I think some time soon your limiting factor might be database speed make sure you test the IOPS of your database to see how far you can expand before you need to get something faster.

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December 17, 2012 1:36:39 PM

Blades are just a more efficient way to stack lots of servers in a data center. Tower servers take up a lot more room, and if you are going to be needing a good number of them, why wouldn't you want to go with rack-mounted blade servers? You can cram a lot of those guys into a rack. Tower servers are not as space-efficient. I'm guessing that at some point you're going to run out of room and wish you had gone with blade servers.
December 17, 2012 1:44:34 PM

yea the 110 user count is based on 2 year old hardware, my existing MSSQL servers are dual xeon E5620 w/ 32GB ram & raid 10 6x SSD. so for their day they are a beast. the DISK IO is hardly hit so if I were to go with dual xeon E5-2640 w/64GB ram i could theoritically double my MSSQL capacity on that single MSSQL server hopefully. the entire SQL DB is almost in memory. I currently have about 20-25% utilization on the current MSSQL Server.
December 17, 2012 1:47:10 PM

I currently use 1u & 2u servers none are tower so there will be a little space saving but not much. my concern is i have never used Blades so I am unsure of their drawbacks / considerations to take into account.
December 17, 2012 1:51:05 PM

another note is I don’t foresee a reason to do virtualization which from what i read, blades and virtualization usually go hand in hand.
December 17, 2012 8:16:18 PM

A blade is just a smaller version of the system. You might need to use a USB ROM if you're loading up an OS that way. They can either connect to a SAN/NAS via HBA/Fiber channel if you have it. Otherwise you would need to make sure your blade has enough space to add your additional disks in.

A tower is great if you have a room and a few of them. Blades are designed to go into a rack and have a certain amount of airflow going through them.

Blades are great for virtualization (they're actually on the way out now) because you can put a lot of them together in a small area and utilize your NAS/SAN.

A blade isn't much different than a tower.. they're just space saving.