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Blade as a Service - How Does It Work?

Posted 21 January 2016 by Kelvin Papp

We’ve blogged on a number of occasions in recent months about some of the benefits that our Infrastructure as a Service platform can bring – increased flexibility, cost savings, and reductions in management overheads to name a few. The reality for some organisations though is that, in spite of all of the benefits, there are some workloads that just don’t sit nicely in the IaaS world and force the deployment of traditional on-premise infrastructure – most notably those that require significant resource which is rarely cost effective to deliver through Cloud infrastructure (or in the form of a virtual machine at all).

Another challenge we run into regularly is licensing (did anyone mention Oracle?!) – even some “Cloud” applications carry constraints around deployment on multi-tenanted platforms, which are complicated further by restrictions within Service Provider license agreements that dictate which licenses are, and are not transferrable to a shared, virtualised infrastructure.

Is this not where Hybrid comes in to play, I hear you ask? Sometimes. Hybrid deployments can address some of the constraints, but depending on how these are deployed they can contradict many of the values and benefits associated with the Cloud infrastructure they supplement, often introducing added cost or complexity around licensing, connectivity, or hosting.

We’ve seen many scenarios where these issues exist, and the bottom line is that there’s not really an elegant way to manage this without compromise, which can spell the end for a move to the Cloud in some circumstances…until now. Enter Blade as a Service.

Blade as a Service was released by Blue Chip last year, and allows many of the benefits associated with traditional Infrastructure as a Service to be realised where hardware or licensing constraints exist. A fixed monthly fee provides access to a dedicated HP BL460 Gen9 blade server (available in a range of high performance configurations), housed in a 24x7 monitored C7000 blade chassis.

The Service makes use of a pool of blade servers; each capable of interfacing directly with customer specific IaaS, Colocation, or Network connectivity. Each pool incorporates a spare to allow rapid service restoration in the event of hardware failure, and is underpinned with fully redundant fan, power supply, network, and out of band management interfaces. The best bit? It’s managed to the OS level in the same way that the rest of our Infrastructure as a Service hardware is, meaning that it’s eligible for Service Provider Licensing if required, but is equally dedicated hardware which mitigates many of the restrictions we come across that create challenges for those looking to take advantage of the Cloud. It’s also high performance, with our entry level blade housing an Intel E5-2650 V3 2.3GHz 10-Core processor and 64GB RAM, making it an ideal candidate for intensive workloads like Citrix XenApp or Microsoft SQL Server that might be inappropriate candidates for deployment either virtually or on a contended or shared platform.

Blade as a Service has opened up real opportunities for many of our customers, and has become a hugely valuable part of our Service offering in ensuring that we can provide not just “a” solution, but one which is appropriate to the workloads in play, and which represents best value for money to those that require the level of resource it can accommodate.

For more information on the service, or for guidance on how Blade as a Service could complement your approach to a Cloud deployment with Blue Chip, please contact us on enquiries@bluechip.com to find out more or call us on 0845 034 7222 to discuss your requirements in more detail.

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