Intel Modular Server

Intel Modular ServerI’ve been very impressed with what I’ve been learning about the recently introduced Intel Modular Server as late. With the ability to house six server blades and fourteen Serial Attached SCSI drives it’s a datacenter in a 6U box (or horizontal pedestal if you prefer).

The management software is intuitive and easy to use, and provides remote, end-to-end management. It works through a web browser (IE and Firefox), yet feels like you’re standing right in front of the rack. The same interface is used for everything from storage, KVM, and power management.

The designers obviously had the middle-market in mind, because this offering sidesteps all of the issues have made implementing a blade solution in a SMB situation problematic. The system runs on either 110 or 240V AC, eliminating the need for a costly 220-240 UPS upgrade.  At 70 dB maximum sound output, I wouldn’t want it under my desk, but it wouldn’t overwhelm an office.  Running at a fairly cool 75 degrees, it won’t overwhelm the cooling ability of a small equipment room. The availability of the chassis as a pedestal base for situations where there is not a rack available is a first in the blade market, as far as I’m aware.

If the Modular Server had an A/C module, it would truly be a data center in a box, providing everything a small business needed except an Internet connection.  I’m interested to see how it fares against HP’s c-Class blade system, or IBM’s BladeCenter S, which have similar capabilities.  With it’s significantly lower cost than HP and IBM, it’s sure to hit the sweet spot for many SMB customers.

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