I recently heard some rumours about IBM’s BladeCenter products that I thought I would share – but FIRST let me be clear: this is purely speculation, I have no definitive information from IBM so this may be false info, but my source is pretty credible, so…

4 Socket Nehalem EX Blade
I posted a few weeks ago my speculation IBM’s announcement that they WILL have a 4 socket blade based on the upcoming Intel Nehalem EX processor (http://bladesmadesimple.com/2009/09/ibm-announces-4-socket-intel-blade-server/) – so today I got a bit of an update on this server.

Rumour 1: It appears IBM may call it the HS43 (not HS42 like I first thought.) I’m not sure why IBM would skip the “HS42” nomenclature, but I guess it doesn’t really matter. This is rumoured to be released in March 2010.

Rumour 2: It seems that I was right in that the 4 socket offering will be a double-wide server, however it appears IBM is working with Intel to provide a 2 socket Intel Nehalem EX blade as the foundation of the HS43. This means that you could start with a 2 socket blade, then “snap-on” a second to make it a 4 socket offering – but wait, there’s more… It seems that IBM is going to enable these blade servers to grow to up to 8 sockets via snapping on 4 x 2 socket servers together. If my earlier speculations (http://bladesmadesimple.com/2009/09/ibm-announces-4-socket-intel-blade-server/) are accurate and each 2 socket blade module has 12 DIMMs, this means you could have an 8 socket, 64 cores, 96 DIMM, 1.5TB of RAM (using 16GB per DIMM slot) all in a single BladeCenter chassis. This, of course, would take up 4 blade server slots. Now the obvious question around this bit of news is WHY would anyone do this? The current BladeCenter H only holds 14 servers so you would only be able to get 3 of these monster servers into a chassis. Feel free to offer up some comments on what you think about this.

Rumour 3: IBM’s BladeCenter S chassis currently uses local drives that are 3.5″. The industry is obviously moving to smaller 2.5″ drives, so it’s only natural that the BladeCenter S drive cage will need to be updated to provide 2.5″ drives. Rumour is that this is coming in April 2010 and it will offer up to 24 x 2.5″ SAS or SATA drives.

Rumour 4: What’s missing from the BladeCenter S right now that HP currently offers? A tape drive. Rumour has it that IBM will be adding a “TS Family” tape drive offering to the BladeCenter S in upcoming months. This makes total sense and is well-needed. Customers buying the BladeCenter S are typically smaller offices or branch offices, so using a local backup device is a critical component to insuring data protection. I’m not sure if this will be in the form of taking up a blade slot (like HP’s model) or it will be a replacement for one of the 2 drive cages. I would imagine it will be the latter since the BladeCenter S architecture allows for all servers to connect to the drive cages, but we’ll see.

That’s all I have. I’ll continue to keep you updated as I hear rumours or news.