Lenovo BladeCenter - Worth the investment
November 18, 2016
Lenovo BladeCenter - Worth the investment
Score 8 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Lenovo BladeCenter Blade Servers
Lenovo BladeCenter Blade Servers are being used across our organization. Almost all of our servers are BladeCenter servers. There are only two older servers that have not been decommissioned that are not BladeCenter servers. It kept the cost of purchasing new servers low. We were able to purchase as many servers as we needed to accommodate our needs without having to negotiate the purchase with upper management because of the lower cost.
- The Lenovo BladeCenter has a management feature that notifies the IT staff when there are any hardware problems. It is extremely convenient to receive notifications for potential problems that we can address before they become problems. It also allows us to log into one place and see the status of all BladeCenter servers. That is very helpful.
- It is very easy to configure servers for purchase. You only need to choose the processor and memory, and maybe an additional card if you have special requirements. If you want the server to boot using it's own hard drives, then you would need to add that. If it will boot from a SANS, then that is not even needed. The rest is handled by the BladeCenter.
- The physical BladeCenter is designed to see if there are any issues at a glance. There are a led's on the front of the unit that allow you to see the status of much of the hardware.
- There is a remote management feature that allows you to see the servers from one application without having to open several remote sessions from Windows of some other VNC service. You can just open a web browser and easily click a drop down to switch back and forth to see your server screens. This is very convenient if you are doing mass server maintenance and restarting several servers at once.
- Hardware maintenance is very easy. Instead of dismounting a heavy server from a rack, or lifting a large server tower, these are light-weight blades that slide out of the BladeCenter. They are very easy to take out, add memory or change processors, or do whatever maintenance is needed, and then just slide back into the BladeCenter.
- We purchased the BladeCenter with the expectation of using it for many years, and only replacing the servers when they got older. IBM/Lenovo technology has changed and we can no longer purchase servers that are compatible with our BladeCenter. We got a lot of good use from it, and are still using it. However, our future purchases will not be blade center servers because we will either have to buy another BladeCenter or regular rack mounted servers. I wish we could have gotten more use out of this BladeCenter because it makes IT live much simpler.
- Sometimes the BladeCenter's web interface for the management module has trouble switching between areas. I use IE and it could just be a browser issue. I just have to click and wait sometimes before the screen updates and changes so I can perform certain tasks.
- It would be nice to have a text option for alerts. You can configure email and "IBM Director" alerts, and tell it which types of alerts you want and if you just want information, warnings, or critical alerts. We don't use IBM Director so I'm not familiar with the features. That may have more options. With just purchasing the management modules I can only receive emails. If there is a critical alert at night, email is not going to get my attention; a text would.
- BladeCenter servers are about half the cost of standard servers. To get true cost savings you must calculate the cost of the actual BladeCenter which may appear to be cost prohibitive, but it does have other benefits. We received ROI after purchasing 7 servers in a BladeCenter that could hold 14.
- Our budget allowed us to purchase twice as many servers as planned because the cost of each server went down after investing in a BladeCenter. It was easer to get approval for purchases and do what we needed as an IT department.
- Solaris and Compaq
In my opinion IBM/Lenovo servers are built better and have more detailed, on-line technical specifications that helps with trouble-shooting or even planning purchases. Their hardware is sturdy, stable, and reliable. We hardly ever have any hardware issues. IBM/Lenovo support is excellent; always friendly and helpful. Support doesn't ask a ton of questions before actually assisting. They understand that you are a server administrator and have a clue, and talk to you on that level. I've worked with several other companies that start by explaining simple computer tasks like clicking. That wastes time when obviously you are calling about a system that is down. They respond quickly, and will even drive to pickup and deliver parts if you need new hardware parts.
Smaller environments may not get the benefit of a BladeCenter. If you only have a few servers, it would be cost effective to just purchase individual servers. If you need to share a SANS, need high-level uptime and redundancy, or just have a need for lots of servers, then a BladeCenter would be beneficial.