When it comes to blades you have to realize of couple of baselines. The first is that you must understand the value of virtualization. The second is that you have a long term view of your world.
So now that we have established the value of the baseline, you need to understand the two main types of blade setups. The first is many applications on one blade center and the other is many blades servicing one application. The latter is way kewl and is what we use to call “grid computing”. That buzzword has fallen by way of the “cloud” and other similar useless marketing technical terms. I will focus this post on the many applications on one blade center. Please read my post on consolidation. I am even using the same graphic for it is that similar. I am also lazy and graphically challenged.
In the past when you had to replace a server or had to buy a new server for new applications you were forced to use a crystal ball. Yes there were many tools to aid you but in effect you had to estimate what you were going to need for several years. In the first years the computer is oversized and underutilized over time the server starts to get utilized as per the requirement and without due diligence the server will become overworked and over utilized. The roller coaster effect takes over. This is the reality faced by most organizations.
The advent of blades allows you buy as required and expand as needed. The initial costs of the infrastructure are high but you can add server instances in places where it would have been tough to get funding. Overtime the cost per server is dramatically lower. Do not underestimate the value of this. It is also a caution to prevent what is termed “server crawl”. The proper implementation of blade infrastructure will reduce more costs than just the hydro and air conditioning that everyone is talking about. It gives management and extreme flexibility and a pay as you play approach.
By using a hypervisor you are able to adjust the supply to the demand without the long processes of procurement and implementation. Benefits of backup and system management now become more manageable as well. The big win, regardless of the marketing hype is that you can actually think big, start small and scale fast.
On a vendor note, be careful of the hype. Deal with vendors that know data centers and that have blade technology for your environment. Some manufacturers are for the many blades to one application model and others are for smaller shops that will not expand beyond the one blade center. Know your business problem before you buy and commit.