During a recent workshop one question popping up which server make is the best to be deployed in a Telco Data center ?
As a Solution Advisory i know that such a question has no fixed answer and answer depend on solution , its basis and long term business and network strategy of customers but still for such questions customers require explain in terms of experience in similar projects and how to actually make such a comparison ? Specially for converted IT and Telco Data Centers .
To start with for this scenario in carriers business we have two solutions viz. Rack Servers and Blade Servers to fill in the blank ; the first thing we need to look at is the industry of NFV and Enterprise till date .What we know is that in NFV normally we are using 42U racks and Blade servers like HP7000, C7000 Gen8/Gen9 Servers, and Huawei E9000 all are blade servers and also Dell M630 also a blade server.
Technically we all know both server types are COTS X86 machines so must be OK to use any of them then why industry has come to such thinking of adopting the Blade servers? After detailed research and compared the benchmarks I can summarize the selection based on following items
1.Performance: in a Telco Cloud, performance is the killer decision because customer will only adopt the solution if it is same or better than the legacy one. We all know that blade servers processing in terms of V3 CPU Core, Disk and Obviously DRAM is much faster than Rack. Although the advocates of Rack servers proclaim with new technology the expansion in upgrade in rack servers is easy but it is balanced when we know the Space /Power /Maintenance of cabling issues in Rack server deployments
2. Cost: There is no doubt the Rack servers main intention was to support mass deployment in data centers which require less performance and quality, For example Google Cloud, Amazon Web hosting, Face book .In fact for these data centers it is more pragmatic to make expansion in bay and for complete racks to have cost advantage, this is one area where Rack servers are certainly doing better than blade servers
3.Scaling: a Telco Cloud must be hyper scalar .It means we can increase by server, by module without complexity. In fact for both type of servers the Compute node expansion is possible by scalar way but the complexity for O&M and installation for the two is not the same. We all know Rack servers need more cabling, more artifacts to get the job done .So for me it lacks promise of scaling
4.Energy: In a big data center it matters most to save power. Comparing the different solutions from different vendors we found that the Blades are more compact. I knew there is a term famous to data center guys about Power usage like power provided to application specific nodes to total power input. Sorry I fail to recall the ratio name but it is far better in Blades in Telco Special case
5.Infrastructure cost: The blades are best from Form factor point of view with Shared power, switches, disk and is a reason for less cabling needs compared to Rack
6 Solution unification: I think all Solution Architects know in a complex ICT world all the big carriers are trying to consolidate both IT and Telco domains to come to a unified solutions Finally .the initial High CAPEX is OK if it promise large OPEX reductions in the TCO cycle. Since Blade servers promise certain optional features and functions which Racks do not have so it is reasonable to deploy with Blade servers or to select multiple type of rack server’s .To explain this one can see the open Stack EPA (Enhance platform awareness) case what we know is that the ideas of Solution unification fits well for NFV when we use Blade servers
I hope these bench marks will enable you to plan your data centers but please note I am enthusiastic writer and blogger. So the comments and analysis in this paper are Sheikh’s own as per industry reach and self understanding, they do not represent any official understanding from my Employer Huawei.
Secondly there are many white box vendors and market of both Rack and Blades are huge. You may come to a situation where the Blade in analysis is worse than the counterpart so the reviews are more relevant if you are planning a Telco Cloud because this is my main focus area…
I am a Senior Architect with a passion to architect and deliver solutions addressing business adoption of the Cloud and Automation/Orchestration covering both Telco and IT Applications industry.
My work in carrier Digital transformation involve Architecting and deploying Platforms for both Telco and IT Applications including Clouds both Open stack and container platforms, carrier grade NFV ,SDN and Infra Networking , DevOps CI/CD , Orchestration both NFVO and E2E SO , Edge and 5G platforms for both Consumer and Enterprise business. On DevOps side i am deeply interested in TaaS platforms and journey towards unified clouds including transition strategy for successful migration to the Cloud
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