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Moving to c-class blades.

The Brit
Honored Contributor

Moving to c-class blades.

Hi Guys,
This is just in the way of a general request for information and experiences.

In our shop we currently run our primary application on Alpha's with OpenVMS. We are about to embark on the process of migrating our stuff to Itanium, (Still with OpenVMS), and in particular we have decided to move to c-class blades.

We are doing our testing and code migration using an rx3600, however when it is time to move (~3-4 weeks) we will be installing 7 bl860's, spread between 3 c7000 enclosures (further down the road we will be adding other blades for other apps).

I/we would be really interested in hearing any comments good or otherwise, relating to the performance of the blades, (reliability, uptime, failure rates, etc). In particular, it would be nice to hear from anyone who has experience with both Alpha's and itanium blades, and can speak to the comparison. We will also be running OpenVMS clustering (obviously), with nodes split between enclosures, (and possibly even locations), so any comments about that would also be welcome.

Are there any "gottcha's" to watch out for?

Thanks in advance.

Uwe Zessin
Honored Contributor

Re: Moving to c-class blades.

Order two (2) OAs (Onboard Administrators) for redundancy and don't use the cheap GbE2c LAN switches.

The c7000/c3000 stuff is cool, but I can't say anything about the Itanium blades, sorry. Please report your experience here.
Honored Contributor

Re: Moving to c-class blades.

Current c-Class Itanium blades are basically Integrity servers that share enclosure, power, cooling and communications.

The closest parallel with OpenVMS Alpha is probably an OpenVMS Galaxy configuration inside a big SMP box.

The two basic platforms are the single-wide BL860c and the double-wide BL870c.

Biggest issues I've encountered with the HP BladeSystem configurations are around wading through the options and the requirements; on figuring out what options are available, what you really need, and what fits in the box. Watch the location of the physical dividers between slots, too.

Performance of current Itanium as compared with Alpha is somewhere between faster and vastly faster, for most applications.

Gotchas? Alignment faults. The obscure and arcane console environment that is EFI. Both are platform-generic caveats, though.

John Gillings
Honored Contributor

Re: Moving to c-class blades.


We're currently moving from Alpha to Itanium, both blades and and rx6600's. First impressions are that they're VERY fast, and I've been surprised at how easy it's been to move software. I'm still looking for "gottcha's" - haven't found any yet. VMS is VMS
A crucible of informative mistakes
Cass Witkowski
Trusted Contributor

Re: Moving to c-class blades.

We are actually installing at a site as we speak. An application that takes 24 hours on a AS4100 takes only an hour on a BL860 blade 1.6 GHz processor.

We are running a cluster in the c7000 chassis.

I would be interested in more information about why it was said to stay away from the cheap GbE2C Ethernet switches.

You should really look at the Virtual connect for Fibre Channel (which will require it for Ethernet as well) since it keeps your WWNs the same regardless of any changes like swapping a blade or replacing a FC mezzanine card. This is a good thing for those who are always forgetting to change the profile on the connections on the storage arrays which can lead to weird problems to trouble shoot

We really like the fact the a lot of engineering has gone in to reduce or eliminate downtime due to failures of components like fan and power supplies.

Dave Gudewicz
Valued Contributor

Re: Moving to c-class blades.

Also keep in mind that these blade enclosures are hot boxes in more ways than one. TANSTAAFL.

Ensure there is an ample supply of cool air available and remember front to back, not bottom to top.
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: Moving to c-class blades.