Rackable Systems and their Microslice Clustered 1U Servers

I think there has been a lot of negative press towards Rackable Systems.  We will give their new solution credit that it is marketed very well, and comes prepackaged and ready to go.

But let's cut through the hype of both sides, the people who love this concept and the people who hate it.

What Rackable Systems have done is a first, to minimize space, power and costs into small servers.  This is great, and many companies have already built their own servers based on small depth Supermicro Chassis and using Desktop components.

The downside is that it seems they must be using Desktop components to achieve this since server motherboards don't typically come with single socket CPU options.  As some have pointed out, the concern is not with the RAM or even CPU chips, but if the motherboards are from Desktop Units.

Server Motherboards will always be tougher and more reliable than a Desktop board, but with that said, the idea in our minds is Rackable Systems is saying it doesn't matter.  You will have multiple systems operating in a load balanced cluster situation (at least this is the only sane minded use case assumption), so the failure of a number of servers is irrelevant.

One thing we don't buy is the "Virtualization doesn't always make senes", Virtualization allows more flexibiity and leverage, although it may pose a threat to hardware vendors which is where this rhetoric has come from.

If I were to use MicroSlice, I would make sure each server is virtualized so we can add RAM hard disk and live migrate them at any point.

In short, this practice of MicroSlice is a lot of hype, but it does offer an excellent cost and reduced power benefit.  People shouldn't be put off on the kind of hardware being used so long as they're operating in a clustered and load balanced environment.

We think Rackable Systems and their opponents both make excellent points and I hope we've walked you through the smoke and mirrors of what's being said.


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