IBM Updates Blade Management Tools

November 20th, 2007 - 3:42 am ICT by admin  

IBM has released a new blade configuration tool as part of its BladeCenter product line. The BladeCenter Open Fabric Manager allows administrators to control I/O virtualization across 1,400 individual blades from a single log-on.

The manager supports a wide range of blade “fabrics,” from vendors such as Brocade, Blade Network Technologies, Cisco, and others. IBM said that this open approach will allow small and midsize businesses to increase performance and save money by using existing switch technology and preserving investments.

“For most customers, the pain points with blades is managing the power and managing the complexity,” said Stuart McRae, product line manager for BladeCenter. “When you had one application with one server, it didn’t take that much to replace. Now, with multiple workloads on a blade server, customers need an extra layer of automation in that environment.”

Automatic Mapping Saves Days

The technology address a critical pain point, Joe Clabby, president of Clabby Analytics, wrote in a research note for Pund-IT. To provision and configure blades, administrators need to assign and manage a myriad of access control addresses and identifiers, a monumental task in large-scale environments, he explained.

With Open Fabric Manager, Clabby said, “IBM has found a way to mix data and storage into a common virtual pool of I/O resources that can be shared across a set of blade servers.” So, instead of having to physically map blades to external networks, IBM now does the mapping automatically.

The result is that “blade managers can cut configuration time down from days to minutes,” Clabby said.

Approach for the Future

With Open Fabric Manager, IBM competes with HP’s Virtual Connect offering, but, said Clabby, the two solutions are very different. HP’s solution uses a hardware module to mask blade server addresses from external LAN and SAN networks, Clabby said. IBM’s is more a software-based management approach that…

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