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Buying the large SMP servers
involves substantial capital costs. Many organizations over time
have ended up buying resources and not using them to their fullest
extent. With blade servers, purchases can be made incrementally
blade-by-blade or frame by frame. Blades are also replaceable
because they can be added and removed on an individual basis without
having to shutdown the whole blade system or blade frame, thereby
providing the online server management. Blades within a unified
chassis are easier to manage.
A Blade Server is a thin board
containing one or more microprocessors. Blades offer power and
memory similar to that available in typical 1U (1.75 inch high)
servers, but squeeze vertically or horizontally into a chassis which
includes cabling, fans, and power supplies typically found on
The InfiniBand architecture
provides an industry-standard technology for scaling out computer
platforms and is an ideal interconnect for developing high
performance Itanium 2 processor-based compute grid clusters.
Low cost InfiniBand silicon that
supports 10 Gb/sec RDMA transfers is shipping today providing eight
times the bandwidth of Ethernet and three times the bandwidth of
proprietary clustering interconnects. With an approved specification
for 30 Gb/sec, InfiniBand is at least a generation ahead of
competing fabric technologies today and in the foreseeable future.
Leveraging the 10 Gb/sec
throughput and low latency capabilities of the InfiniBand
technology, the InfiniBand enabled clusters are increasingly built
in research and commercial institutions. They are showing a
significant improvement in rendering speed (3x to 4x) over the
Gigabit Ethernet enabled grid cluster.
The Role of Linux
Linux operating system, which
became quite popular for hosting web servers and firewalls is now
increasingly picked up or selected for mission critical servers such
as the application clusters and databases.
?Linux is able to provide the
UNIX reliability at Intel prices,? says a recent report by Forester
Research Inc. For example, Linux based 2-way Dell machines can
handle the same work load as the Solaris 4-way Sun servers and at a
fraction of the cost.
Linux has achieved other
technological advances such as 4-way CPU support and sophisticated
threading model and enterprise class security. Linux based Intel
servers and clusters are now being increasingly used for IBM
WebSphere servers, BEA Web Logic Servers and for Oracle Real
Figure 2.4 shows the gradual
growth of Linux and its footing into the corporate IT data centers.
As the Linux operating system is gaining ground and maturing as a
commodity operating system, it is becoming a key resource for Grid
Figure 2.4: Linux Adoption and