Small enterprises are being enticed toward blade servers with some recent introductions by HP, IBM and Hitachi aimed at lowering the costs of entry. The claim is that blade systems are more cost effective than rack-mount servers when three to six servers are purchased. Head-to-head comparisons between blade and rack-mount servers are not a simple exercise due to the differences in configurations available for both the blade and rack-mount systems.
In order to do a true comparison of the total costs, equivalent systems must be configured and priced. This note, and its associated worksheet, provides the tools to select comparable systems and to perform a cost comparison. Items that must be considered include:
- Selecting equivalent systems for comparison.
- Configuring matching hardware, including processors, RAM, storage, and networking capabilities.
- Evaluating indirect costs such as cabling, external infrastructure, and energy use.
By selecting the right systems for the comparison, the small enterprise can determine at what point blade servers will save the business money.