October 25, 2010

x86 Blades: Shrinking the Branch Office

  • Facilitating Branch Office Infrastructure Consolidation
  • Cisco Systems
Multisite organizations are reducing the number of servers in their branch offices by moving applications to the data center. Yet, they continue to place a few essential applications locally because of performance, survivability, or compliance requirements. By making use of x86 server blades, these lean branch offices can lower equipment and operating costs, right-size and simplify infrastructure, and improve hardware provisioning and remote management.

Blade servers have gained market acceptance because they address a critical and growing need in the data center: the requirement to increase server densities without increasing the size, cost, and management complexity of the underlying infrastructure. Many of the benefits that blades offer, such as reduced cabling, rapid hardware provisioning, and management automation, are also applicable to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and branch offices. Several vendors have responded to this market gap by offering a compact, multipurpose blade system for SMBs and regional branch offices. However, the need for simplicity, lower space and energy consumption, and consolidated management is not unique to large branch offices. Small- and medium-sized branch offices could also benefit from a multipurpose blade system.

Today, organizations are centralizing applications and reducing infrastructure footprint in branch offices of all sizes. Although complete application centralization is the desired goal of many such initiatives, often it cannot be achieved because of limitations imposed by the WAN. A handful of edge services such as Microsoft Active Directory Domain Service (AD DS), print services, or mission-critical line-of-business applications must remain in the branch office. Intel x86 architecture (x86) blades are ideal for hosting these less-challenging workloads. The goal of this paper is to (1) describe the ongoing infrastructure transformation in the branch office, (2) outline how x86 blades naturally complement this trend, (3) highlight the business value of x86 blades in the branch office, (4) provide a brief overview of a Cisco Integrated Services Router Generation 2 (ISR G2) x86 blade solution for small and medium sized branch offices, and (5) describe three use cases for the Cisco ISR G2 x86 blades.

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1 Comment

Adding "blades" is a standard practice in the data center. Now this same solution can be applied to the small and medium sized branches.

This is a great paper that examines how you can accomplish this and the significant benefits you can reap.

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