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Cisco B230 Blade: Got to love the memory!

Today was a cool day.  We setup a fiber channel port-channel for the connection between our 6120 and the MDS 9148 switches.  Then I recieved my first B230 blade all tricked out!

It took me all but a minute to rip over the box and pull the cover off.  Man, 32 DIMM slots on a half blade, what a pretty sight.

Yes, those are 32 – 8 GB memory DIMMS for a total of 256 GB of memory.  Also, we have a pair of Intel Xeon L7555 CPUs each with 8 cores!

So our plan next week is to zone the blade to the new VMAX, load VMware ESXi 4.1 and start messing around with it.

This stuff is exciting.

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January 7, 2011 Posted by | Cisco UCS | , , | Leave a comment

Cisco UCS: B230 M1 Blade is Sweet!

I have been waiting for this product announcement and I am very excited to see it is now on the Cisco web site. Once you start to check out the spec on this new server I think you too will think that it is amazingly cool and a sweet addition to the Cisco unified computing product line.

Our current production “state of the art” blade configuration has been a B200 M2 blade with 96 GB memory with 12 cores or in 1 -6U chassis with 768 GB of memory and 96 cores.

The new B230 blows the current capacity of a 6U chassis out of the water.  Check this out, with the initial release (they will add support for the 16 GB DIMM later) you can get 2048 GB of memory and 128 cores in one chassis! That is badass in my book.

Cisco UCS B230 M1 Blade Front Veiw

Sean McGee, Cisco UCS engineer, has posted a blog with a great table breakdown comparison with 3 competitor blade products, you should check it out.

http://tinyurl.com/234p9dm

The link to the official Cisco page on the product:

http://tinyurl.com/28lfd6d

A few things that standout to me:

—  32 DIMM slots in a half size blade (more memory footprint)
—  Intel Xeon 6500 or 7500 series processors (more cores available in a 2 socket box)
—  Optional 2 SSD disk drives (the size of the SSD allows for more room for DIMM slots, nice)
—  Many options for Interface cards (including the Cisco VIC for virtual interfaces)

This thing was built for virtualization and large workloads in mind.   I will definitely use the B230 M1 for new ESX hosts and I can see purchasing a few for large SQL workloads that require a physical server (of course I will use the hardware abstraction functionality in the Service Profile to maximize the flexibility).

Front of blade is to the left, notice no HDD space needed.

The physical design of this blade is impressive as well.  They have used SSD drives to reduce the physical space needed for local disk which gives you more room for DIMM slots.  Personally, I like this move mainly because of more memory but also because I think it will push more people away from local disk and to boot from SAN.  It is when you are able to utilize boot from SAN the power of Cisco UCS can shine, using the hardware abstraction in service profiles.

I have seen a few twitter questions about what code version will be required for this new blade. Based on a few things listed in the Cisco datasheet, I believe it will be code version 1.4 which should be available next quarter.

Another question I have is when can it be ordered and shipped.  Oh yeah, pricing will be important too.

Cool stuff!

September 14, 2010 Posted by | Cisco UCS | , | Leave a comment