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General BLADE QUESTIONS!!!!!! Please help!

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Occasional Contributor

General BLADE QUESTIONS!!!!!! Please help!

Hello All,

I am very new to BLADES. My knowledge is limited at this moment with blades. I was wondering if anyone could help me out with
pointing me to the right direction or telling me there best practices on BLADES. I'm trying to develop a "best practice" guide for myself.

What I need;

1. I need a list of what things customers can do to shoot themselves in the foot and cause problems on a BLADE

2. things that could take the blade down or degrade the performance.

3. A list of tings that need to be done to keep the BLADE healthy.
Honored Contributor

Re: General BLADE QUESTIONS!!!!!! Please help!

Question 1.)
Most of these things are installation-related.

* A set of blade servers will achieve a higher density of servers per unit of volume than an equivalent number of traditional servers. That means, one rack full of blades will require more I/O connections (LAN, SAN, whatever you need), more power (maybe not so many plugs in total, but watch out for the amperage) and more cooling than one full rack of traditional servers. If you don't prepare for this, it will cause nasty surprises.

* The density of cables in the back of a blade rack may become very high too. Plan your cabling well, don't leave any excess cable lengths at the back of the blade rack (try to get your cables just the appropriate length) and use cable ties and support hooks. You'll want to arrange your cables as neatly and cleanly as you can get, and have the discipline to keep it so... because otherwise the cabling will eventually degrade into a nightmarish spaghetti. It can happen quicker than you'd believe.

* The blades are designed to be operated over the network: the ideal OS installation method is a network boot from an installation server. It's very likely you cannot connect each individual blade to a KVM switch: network console (iLO or similar) is the way to go.

* Don't use blade servers in a task that requires external peripherals: they are not really designed for that.

* The internal wiring of the blade set is likely to have some limitations: read the documentation to learn the configuration rules. There will be some limitations that aren't immediately obvious.

* The integrated LAN (and SAN, if required) switch modules are a good idea. They allow you to minimize the total number of cables and will give you more flexibility for remote reconfiguration. But if you need to use "dumb" pass-through modules instead, be aware that there may be some pitfalls: for example, the pass-through LAN modules in HP's new c7000 series blades are gigabit *only*: no fallback to slower speeds.

Questions 2 and 3)
The basics are the same as with traditional servers: good cooling, clean power and an OS up-to-date with patches.

The new form factor should have significant effects in maintenance only: as the density is higher, it's easier to unplug a wrong cable or component by mistake.

Honored Contributor

Re: General BLADE QUESTIONS!!!!!! Please help!

Well, some blade systems - the C Class for example, do try to address the issue of cable's coming out the back with their I/O modules. For example, you can use a LAN switch module with some number of "uplinks" to the rest of your network infrastructure rather than a single (or more) LAN cable per blade. There are similar io modules for fibre channel.

Apart from that, in broad terms keeping a blade happy is perhaps not all _that_ different from keeping a traditional server happy. Keep its air at happy temperatures and humidity, feed it nice power, don't ask it to run buggy software all that sort of thing :)

It is easier to physically remove a blade from a chassis than it is to remove a traditional server from a rack. Whether that is an issue or not I suppose will depend on the degree of physical security you have or need.

Now, keeping the blade mezzanine slot to I/O module mappings straight is rather important. That feeds into which sorts of add-on mezzanine cards you put in which slots on which blades in the chassis.
there is no rest for the wicked yet the virtuous have no pillows
Frequent Advisor

Re: General BLADE QUESTIONS!!!!!! Please help!

1: One of the things that may be trickier with blades that may catch you unawares is the power connector type. C7000 uses C19/C20 connectors which is much different than your C13/C14 connectors your regular servers use. Make sure you plan your PDU/UPS appropriately.
For one blade system with up to 4 power supplies (which can handle a mostly full C7000 depending on configuration) the HP R5500 XR fits pretty nicely.
Deployment via RDP can be a little tricky your first time through, but learn it live it love it! It can save you TONS of time especially if you go through the steps of making a hardware independent image.

#2 and #3 are just like any other server. Make sure you follow best practices on your OS deployment and management, redundant ethernet connections & NIC teams, backups backups backups, standard IT mantra stuff :)