FlexAddress – Simplifying, Reducing Cost of Blade Management

Here's a post on new blade technology from Chad Fenner in our sever group….Take it away Chad…

Having launched the M-Series blades earlier this year, today we’ve introduced Flex Address which is designed as a low cost way to simplify blade server changes – servicing, upgrading or replacing a blade.

What makes this very different from other blade vendors – is that you don’t have to switch your switch. Unlike some similar implementations from competitors, FlexAddress works with any switch, such as Cisco and Brocade, as well as with any pass through module. 

It works by locking a server's World Wide Name (WWN for Fibre Channel Fabrics) and Media Access Control (MAC for Ethernet Fabrics) to a blade slot instead of on the blade itself.

Normally if a server is removed, it loses its storage and ethernet connections, which then have to be re-mapped. That's like being forced to change your phone number because you lost your phone. Point being is that it takes time and effort to get done.

FlexAddress virtualizes the connection, so if a blade is replaced or upgraded it still maintains the exact same connection. Imagine a boot from SAN implementation – one server could be removed and another inserted and nothing else would need to be done to connect to the same storage LUN!

Pretty much all network administrators I talk to have been thrilled about this. It saves them time and money. The great thing about Dell's implementation is also how simple it is to implement. All a customer has to do is choose via a single click if they want FlexAddress active in the management software. It's implemented as an SD card on the Chassis Management Controller (CMC).

NerdBlog, eWeek, and Network World have weighed in…

About the Author: David Graves