Friday, December 30, 2011

[IT] My IT wishlist for 2012 (part 3 - Virtualize the backplane)

My IT wishlist for 2012 (part 3 - Virtualize the backplane)

A few weeks ago I had a demo of Cisco UCS blade hardware and I find it pretty nice.

What's really nice is that the "Service Profile" technology of the UCS allows to move a complete configuration (BIOS settings/all firmwares/boot settings/MAC-address/etc) from one server (blade) to another. Now while this is really perfect for virtualization with a FCoE/iSCSI storage systems, I feel that the solution hasn't been really thought for those who would like to use local storage... these systems are mainly designed for those who only want 2 disks in their blades (again, when using local disks).

So my guess is that the next thing that needs to be virtualized is the backplane. This way you could have 8 blades, 16 blades or even 32 blades systems connected through multi-lane SAS to a huge "storage chassis" which would actually be only a big SAS endpoint which would allow to attribute bandwidth (SAS lanes) to servers (ie: give a web server 1x SAS 6G and a sql server 4x SAS 6G). Obviously, you would also be able to dedicate some disks to these servers, this way the blades would be almost diskless but still you would be able to add storage to your servers without the need for FCoE or iSCSI systems which both need you to learn and test much more things than what is usually used on simple web platform.

The idea here is to create almost ready-to-deploy racks full of servers and storage...
Why would you want to deploy iSCSI or FCoE, if you have a nearline SAS solution that answers your needs ans simplifies your infrastructure ?

Here is how it would look in a rack :

Obviously there would be a link between the DAS systems and the UCS switch/manager (UCS 6120) so that you would be able to manage the storage boxes with the same GUI/scripts as the rest of the rack.

Now that's "all-in-one" :)