Windows and Linux Get a Skinny Blade Server from IBM
April 14, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
IBM is intent on getting its BladeCenter blade servers into the data centers and data closets of small and medium businesses, and last week continued the revamping of its blade products to make them more suitable for SMB shops with the addition of the HS12 entry Xeon blade server.
The launch of the single-socket HS12 Xeon-based blade server follows a week after Big Blue announced the JS12, also a single-socket blade, but one that is uses IBM’s own dual-core Power6 rather than Intel‘s dual-core and quad-core Xeons.
The HS12 comes in two flavors. The 8014 machines support a single-core 1.86 GHz Celeron 445 with 512 MB of L2 cache on a 1.07 GHz front side bus or a dual-core Core 2 Duo E6305 2 MB of L2 cache per chip. (Both are rated at 65 watts.) The 8028 model of the HS12 blade supports a dual-core Xeon E6305 running at 2.13 GHz (2 MB cache with a 1.07 GHz bus), a quad-core 2.5 GHz Xeon X3323 (6 MB cache with a 1.33 GHz bus) or a quad-core 2.66 GHz Xeon X3353 (6 MB cache with a 1.33 GHz bus). This variant also supports a quad-core Xeon X3363 chip running at 2.83 GHz with 12 MB of cache and a 1.33 GHz bus. Both HS12 blades come with two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and have six DDR2 memory slots that support up to 24 GB of main memory using 4 GB DIMMs. These latter three chips are rated at 80 watts.
The 8028 model supports two small form factor (2.5-inch) hot swap SAS drives or two of IBM’s 62.8 GB solid state disks; the 8014 model supports two regular (meaning not hot-swappable) 2.5-inch SATA drives or two of the solid state disks. It is interesting to note that these SATA drives are what you and I would call laptop drives–the kind that IT Jungle has been using in its servers for years. (Welcome to the green future, Big Blue.) These drives only spin at 7200 RPM, compared to 15K RPM for full-sized, 3.5-inch SCSI and SAS disks and 10K RPM for 2.5-inch SAS drives.
The HS12 blade server fits in all existing BladeCenter chasses, but IBM is going to be keen on pushing this blade into the BladeCenter S office-compatible blade server, which runs on standard power and is a lot quieter than the BladeCenter H chassis, which runs on 240-volt power. The HS12 blade server is available on May 12, and supports Microsoft‘s Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 operating systems (including Small Business Server R2), as well as Novell‘s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. IBM is only preloading Windows Server 2003 Standard, Enterprise, and SBS on the blade at this point; if you want Windows Server 2008 or Linux, you have to do the loading yourself.
The base HS12 blade comes with the 1.86 GHz Celeron 445 processor, 512 MB of main memory, and a 160 GB 2.5-inch SATA drive; it costs $999 without an operating system. Moving up to the Core 2 Duo chip and 2 GB of memory drives the price up to $1,399. The most robust HS12 configuration has the 2.83 GHz quad-core Xeon chip, 2 GB of memory, and a 292 GB 2.5-inch SAS drive for $2,539.