Other than the obvious threat of having to relocate or evacuate due to the weather, the Saints’ constant travel required them to search for a portable IT solution that would make it easier to quickly set up operations in another city. The Saints were a long-time IBM customer, so they looked at the IBM BladeCenter S for this solution, and it worked great. (I’m going to review the BladeCenter S below, so keep reading.) The Saints consolidated 20 physical servers onto the BladeCenter S, virtualizing the environment with VMware. Although the specific configuration of their blade environment is not disclosed, IBM reports that the Saints are using 1 terabyte of built-in storage, which enables the Saints to go on the road with the essential files (scouting reports, financial apps, player stats, etc) and tools the coaches and the staff need. In fact, in the IBM Case Study video, the Assistant Director of IT for the New Orleans Saints, Jody Barbier, says, “The Blade Center S definitely can make the trip with us if we go to the Super Bowl.” I guess we’ll see. Be looking for the IBM Marketing engine to jump on this bandwagon in the next few days.
A Look at the IBM BladeCenter S
The IBM BladeCenter S is a 7u high (click image on left for larger view of details) chassis that has the ability to hold 6 blade servers and up to 12 disk drives held in Disk Storage Modules located on the left and right of the blade server bays. The chassis has the option to either segment the disk drives to an individual blade server, or the option to create a RAID volume and allow all of the servers to access the data. As of this writing, the drive options for the Disk Storage Module are: 146GB, 300GB, 450GB SAS, 750GB and 1TB Near-Line SAS and 750GB and 1TB SATA. Depending on your application needs, you could have up to 12TB of local storage for 6 servers. That’s pretty impressive, but wait, there’s more! As I reported a few weeks ago, there’s is a substantial rumour that there is a forthcoming option to use 2.5″ drives. This would enable the ability to have up to 24 drives (12 per Disk Storage Module.) Although that would provide more spindles, the current capacities of 2.5″ drives aren’t quite to the capacities of the 3.5″ drives. Again, that’s just “rumour” – IBM has not disclosed whether that option is coming (but it is…)
The article goes on to a full review of the IBM BladeCenter S, so I definitely encourage you to click through and read the whole thing. I especially loved the bit about consolidating 20 servers into one unit. That just speaks efficiency to me. Go Saints!
Find more on the IBM BladeCenter S.