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Building blocks of converged infrastructures

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CI's keystone: Integrated computing in a blade server enclosure

Source:  Jupiterimages/Thinkstock

Computing hardware is at the heart of any converged infrastructure product. The goal is homogeneous, power-efficient integrated computing servers that can be deployed in standard rack structures.

Most converged infrastructure (CI) products use blade servers, not traditional 1U, 2U or other "pizza box" hard-mounted servers. The blade chassis mounts into a standard rack and receives all cabling, but the actual servers are hot-pluggable blade modules, which allows fast and easy upgrades or replacements. Blade servers can pose a challenge when data center cooling isn't designed to handle the concentrated format.

The blade server enclosure also forms the structural and cabling foundation for other networking and storage I/O modules. Blade servers can include local disks (perhaps one or two small-form-factor disk drives per blade), but CI typically uses a centralized storage area network rather than distributed disks.

Standardizing on a single blade server from a single vendor means the administrator can use detailed, highly granular systems management and reporting.

Dell's Active System 1000v is based on Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade server enclosures, where each blade server module can be selected to accommodate varying needs for processing power, memory and performance. Hewlett-Packard's Converged Infrastructure line can use HP BladeSystem c7000 Enclosures with HP ProLiant BL460c Server Blades running Intel Xeon 5600 series processors.

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