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Web Servers Getting Naked, For Weight Savings

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the community-standards dept.

HP 101

1sockchuck writes "Cloud computing is causing servers to get naked. HP today announced a 'skinless' server optimized for customers packing thousands of servers into cloud or HPC environments. This follow the lead of SGI/Rackable, which ditched the cover when it introduced bare bones servers for its CloudRack (previously discussed here). HP says the skinless design makes servers far lighter, which is apparently an issue when shipping them by the rackload."

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101 comments

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Hottttt! (4, Funny)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302585)

Servers getting naked - IN YOUR EMAIL.

Just sign up for our newsletter, and all of those from our affiliates, co-conspirators, third party hordes, and lawyers...

Sure, you can find naked servers at google, but don't you prefer the personal touch?

Re:Hottttt! (5, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303393)

All I gotta say is if you don't know the difference between skinless and naked, you are NOT dating my sister.

Re:Hottttt! (1)

peppermat (1300793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28306173)

If you say that to all her boyfriends, it must take some time...

Re:Hottttt! (1)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 5 years ago | (#28306779)

This being slashdot, chances are she wouldn't date him,

Re:Hottttt! (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308457)

There's a difference between "naked" and "skinless". I would prefer not to see the latter....

It's about time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28302587)

If I can slashdot naked, a webserver can host pages naked!

Oh damn, dropped the remote on the floor. Let me bend over and pick it up. BRB.

(enjoy that hairy mental image :P )

Re:It's about time! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28302611)

wanring: don't mentally image that -- he's the goatse guy :(

Re:It's about time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28307285)

Informative!?!? Mods on crack!!!

Wait... (2, Interesting)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302595)

Naked doesn't quite equal skinless, unless you're saying that you're naked of skin. Or...?

Re:Wait... (3, Funny)

Rog-Mahal (1164607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302623)

Yeah, I'm thinking skinless porn appeals to quite a different subset of the public than naked porn. And yes, this did degenerate to porn already.

Re:Wait... (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302825)

Yeah, I'm thinking skinless porn appeals to quite a different subset of the public than naked porn.

Like zombies or something?

Re:Wait... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302943)

"There's a place down the street; Seven Xs. What does that mean? Maybe it's... girls without skin."
--Tom Waits

Re:Wait... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303465)

Yeah, I'm thinking skinless porn appeals to quite a different subset of the public than naked porn.

Wait a minute, I used to work for a guy like that. "It puts the server in the rack or else it gets the hose again."

Worst job ever.

Re:Wait... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303493)

And yes, this did degenerate to porn already.

Flynt's Law: All articles with the words "getting naked," "virtual reality," or "tactile response" in the title will quickly degenerate into discussions of porn.

Re:Wait... (3, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302881)

Damn you Robbie Williams!

Blade? (5, Insightful)

TopSpin (753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302629)

The new 'blade'; 19" wide and 1.75" tall.

I see discrete Ethernet phys, VGA, USB, etc.; all the horrible stuff blades are supposed to consolidate away. Turns out all the proprietary silicon, software and exotic backplanes necessary to make that real costs too much and is creepy.

And you can quit calling it "cloud" now... they're just hosting providers and you know it.

Re:Blade? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302919)

Everybody's coming with the 1/2 width 1U servers now. HP has quite a few of them. They're more dense even than HP blades, and they use standard interconnects.

The recently announced DL1000 [hp.com] is another one, with the connections in the back as is traditional, and up to 16 SAS drives.

Re:Blade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303283)

Seems one of the big advantages of blades over 1u chassis is just getting rid of the dinky fans that fit in 1u. Going to 2u allows reasonable size fans (blades bigger than the motor) that are more efficient. This arrangement has reasonable space for the fans with out all the backplane funkyness you mention.

Re:Blade? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303545)

And you can quit calling it "cloud" now... they're just hosting providers and you know it.

Hmmmm.....actually that reminds me. While eating breakfast this morning, I had this crazy idea: if you were doing compute/web hosting with whitebox servers, would that be "White Cloud computing"? Just wondering.

Re:Blade? (1)

DavidRawling (864446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303813)

Only if you're running the servers in New Zealand [wikipedia.org] .

Is the Airflow OK? (4, Interesting)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302653)

This makes sense, since the dust should already be filtered, which removes a large part of the need for a case. However, I do wonder about the airflow, since an ordinary case helps to direct the airflow through the kit rather than over the top, which might be a problem. On the other hand, without a case, the ventilation will be much better, so what is lost on the swings may be gained on the roundabouts.

This is a nice idea though, and would make sense for rackmount routers/switches, since these usually sit in an enclosed cupboard anyway.

bTW: first?/p

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302749)

It's for THE CLOUD COMPUTING, there's not going to be any airflow problems!

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303551)

But there COULD be moisture problems....

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302819)

Given the fact that there don't seem to be any fans pictured in the chassis itself, and given that this is targeted at very large scale customers, I'd assume that the use case for these things is "inside a specially designed rack with power and cooling, with that specially designed rack completely full" which would allow the OEM to just validate against that case.

If you just put one of these on a table, it'd probably overheat; but, if you want to do that, HP wants to sell you a pedestal server instead.

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (2, Insightful)

SpudB0y (617458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303015)

Apparently you and everyone else who modded you up didn't read enough of TFA to see the second picture showing the fans.

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303139)

You might want to RTFA a little more closely: The fans in the second picture are embedded in a larger chassis, into which the module in the first picture is inserted. There are no fans in the server modules. There are fans, and power, provided by the larger enclosure into which they are inserted. I was wrong to speculate that it was full rack(the z6000 enclosure is only 2u, for reasons I can't quite fathom); but the thermal performance of the bare server does, indeed, depend quite closely on the enclosure into which it is inserted, just as I speculated.

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303569)

Additionally, fans without some kind of enclosure wouldn't provided for proper airflow. AMD's and Intel's system design recommendations both state that a proper enclosure is necessary and even give details as to how that closure should work with regard to airflow.

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (1)

SpudB0y (617458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304247)

You said if you put it on a table it would overheat. I don't think it would do much of anything without a power supply.

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (2, Insightful)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303175)

So essentially, the whole data center or the rack itself becomes the cooling case. I like it.

Since you are interested... (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302989)

The product page is here [hp.com] . There are pictures. And specifications. And video. I think we can skip the rest of the blogofrenzy and get our info from the source.

BTW, this looks pretty much like a DL1000 installed backward. It's probably different in some other meaningful way. I didn't look too close.

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (2, Insightful)

karbonKid (902236) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303261)

However, I do wonder about the airflow

The floor of the case above forms the roof of the case below when mounted in a rack. Airflow problem solved. IIRC, Google was the first to implement this.

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28306351)

so what is lost on the swings may be gained on the roundabouts

Nope
we're losing on the swings, we're losing on the roundabouts,
we're losing on the swings, we're losing on the roundabouts,
too much, too soon, too far to go, to late to play
the game is over

10 points to whoever gets the reference.

Re:Is the Airflow OK? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312231)

I wonder about the structural integrity and the electrical grounding.

This is similar to an old school BBS trick (5, Interesting)

Optic7 (688717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302699)

My friend used to run a BBS way back when, and he told me he would just hang the motherboards and other components on a pegboard on the wall. Similar idea, but I think he was doing it to save money on cases and possibly to save space as well.

Re:This is similar to an old school BBS trick (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302853)

It is a cool look when your datacenter doubles as a social gathering place. I've done it too. Not so cool when somebody falls into a server, the cat decides to play with the CPU fan, that sort of thing. Definitely want to go with the non conductive remote control helecopter.

I heard Google started with restaurant racks or something like that.

Oh. And the direct from the source link is go extremescale [hp.com]

Re:This is similar to an old school BBS trick (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303889)

My server boards and other pieces of kit are cable tied to Canadian Tire plastic shoe racks.

Now *that* is cheap...

Re:This is similar to an old school BBS trick (3, Funny)

James Skarzinskas (518966) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304069)

A chum of mine swore by running his computer "naked" in a somewhat modified Walmart mini-fridge for some unconventional cooling. Well, until he spilled a 1L of pepsi on his motherboard.

Re:This is similar to an old school BBS trick (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304215)

I'm kinda doing the same thing right now, I've got my Mobo sitting in its box, the HD PSU and DVD are all sitting on the desk.

que the porn comments in ..... (-1, Offtopic)

koutbo6 (1134545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302701)

3 ...2 ....1

Re:que the porn comments in ..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28302885)

Queue

Re:que the porn comments in ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303433)

Actually, "cue".

Re:que the porn comments in ..... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312283)

Actually, queue. We expect a lot. We're just about to tell them to line up.

Re:que the porn comments in ..... (1)

ChrisMP1 (1130781) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302903)

Sorry... #28302585 beat you 16 minutes earlier...

Re:que the porn comments in ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28302957)

turns out the "extra weight" was needed to finish loading his comment.

Re:que the porn comments in ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28304619)

Que? What pron comments? :P

Big deal (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28302807)

Company charges more for servers with less steel - film at eleven.

Re:Big deal (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303595)

Reminds me of those "diskless workstations" which cost more than an equivalent computer. It always seemed like a scheme to sell computers with no hard drive and make a killing.

This might be a good idea (4, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302901)

Makes the servers more serviceable, and in a server closet there isn't much that would require a skin to protect against.

As a conservative... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28302909)

As a ceonservative, I'm appauled! What if our children are exposed to this!? We need to enact legislation immediatly! I bet those liberals in our current government will just idly let this slide though...

Re:As a conservative... (4, Funny)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303005)

Steve Cobert, please go back to your desk and keep quiet on this.
Nevertheless, this is the only naked thing in the world you will get close to.

I've been thinking (and saying) this for a long (3, Interesting)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302931)

... time. It's cooler, faster, lighter, cheaper and better for the environment and it looks a hell of a lot bad ass when you open up a system that's got it's guts exposed and just start hot-swappin' like a mofo. Sad thing is that it's driven by $$$$ and the need for companies to shave even a few pennies off their TCO when I've been doing it to my systems for years now for the above-state reasons.

Re:I've been thinking (and saying) this for a long (5, Funny)

imneverwrong (1303895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302991)

...it looks a hell of a lot bad ass when you open up a system that's got it's guts exposed and just start hot-swappin' like a mofo

A mechanic was removing a cylinder-head from the motor of a Harley motorcycle when he spotted a well-known cardiologist in his shop. The cardiologist was there waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his bike when the mechanic shouted across the garage "Hey Doc, want to take a look at this?"

The cardiologist walked over to where the mechanic was working on the motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and said, "So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take the valves out, repair any damage, and then put them back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So how come I make $25,000 a year and you get $160,000 when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The cardiologist paused, smiled and leaned over, then whispered to the mechanic...

"Try doing it with the engine running!"

Re:I've been thinking (and saying) this for a long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303279)

Nice one! :)

Re:I've been thinking (and saying) this for a long (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303533)

Actually, cardiologists DO stop your heart with a carefully timed defibrillator (or should I say fibrillator). Not the big paddles like you see on the ER shows. First they crack open your chest, then they use these tiny metal paddles, which don't need much juice to do the trick because there's much less resistance.

Annnd my captcha word is Autopsy. How apt!

Re:I've been thinking (and saying) this for a long (2, Interesting)

adolf (21054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304445)

Right. But in cases when the heart needs stopped, there's a heart lung machine [wikipedia.org] plumbed into place in order to take over for it. And if anything stops for any real length of time, the patient dies.

It's like rebuilding a Harley motor, with no battery, without losing the radio[1] presets, and while maintaining a functional and running (if substitute) driveline the entire time, while ensuring that nothing ever stops because if it does, the bike will die. And then, all the kings horses and all the kings men, won't be able to put Harley together again.

But that's simply too wordy for a punchline. Especially when the original was so concise and to the point.

[1]: I don't know why Harleys are so often equipped with radios, but they are, so there.

Re:I've been thinking (and saying) this for a long (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28312329)

Can we work in a George Costanza + Frogger high score reference somehow?

Re:I've been thinking (and saying) this for a long (1)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 5 years ago | (#28311731)

Is the joke the fact that the probability of an H-D motor running is close to 0?

Take out the disks. Put in 10G ethernet (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#28305165)

And you have a deal.
 

Naked? (2, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28302967)

I would say skinless instead. Probably for servers "naked" should mean without OS installed, what looks specially attractive since you can choose to install on them open clothes.

Re:Naked? (2, Funny)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303815)

I certainly prefer my clothes to be open.

What?

Nice rack (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28302987)

Nice rack

Re:Nice rack (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 5 years ago | (#28305463)

a complete new meaning for "let me see you stripped".

has anyone mentioned rule 34? a whole new world of geek porn...

It would be awesome if... (5, Interesting)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303133)

They added a 12V only power supply and a 12V battery, integrating the UPS as well. All the 12V stepdown can happen on the mainboard!

Totally OK if the battery is an optional replacement for the second hard drive.

Re:It would be awesome if... (2, Funny)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303315)

+1 Google.

Re:It would be awesome if... (2, Interesting)

metallurge (693631) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303399)

It has seemed to me for some time that there would be a market for somebody to manufacture a little VRM module that plugged into the ATX motherboard connector, and had two screw terminal inputs to hook up, say unregulated +12/24/48V as from say solar panels or batteries. A more deluxe model could also have auxiliary outputs for CDROM/HDD/FDD/VIDPWR connectors.

DC to ATX power regulator (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303959)

Here you go. [mini-itx.com]

Re:DC to ATX power regulator (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304713)

wow, i just had a look at doing an order, and to new zealand mini-itx.com wanted US$77.00 for shipping a case no bigger that 1 litre in volume.

Re:It would be awesome if... (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 5 years ago | (#28305441)

Mini-box has an assortment of very small DC-DC ATX power supplies [mini-box.com] . Look for ones with "wide input" that can handle a range of voltages. I have used an older, slightly larger module on some battery powered robots to run a mini-ITX computer, and I've been quite happy with it.

Been done and it's cool in more ways than one (1)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309997)

The concept you describe is implemented in some data centres--the rack contains not only shared cooling smaller number of much larger sized fans) but also the power supply, where AC goes in and the DC goes out to all the machines in the rack.

On a smaller scale I've done this at home: At the telephone demarc point where the electrical panel is I mount my DSL modem, a switch and an old FlexATX board to perform router/firewall functions. Instead of a PC power supply and multiple "wall warts" there is one power supply to feed single-rail 12V power to all the devices, thus only requiring one power outlet for the whole works. The whole thing will run off one 12V sealed lead-acid battery as well, for about an hour on the old battery I tried I'd estimate, but I've yet to incorporate it into the setup permanently. The old mainboard uses a CF card plugged into the first IDE connector (CF cards have an IDE-mode operation--the adapters are for the most part just re-arranging the physical connector for the same signals), and to accomodate single-rail power I use the "Pico PSU" that takes in unregulated 12V on 2 wires and puts out all the ATX power required. It plugs into the ATX power socket and isn't all that much bigger than a typical ATX power connector inside your PC, except not attached to all those wires.

If you're starting with new hardware, you can forego the PicoPSU and use MiniITX boards with single-rail power. VIA offers some models that take simple 12VDC which are tailored to mobile and industrial markets (an elegant choice for Automotive PCs).

In a larger application requiring multiple hosts I envisioned a setup that would forego proprietary blade setups or expensive racks and a significant amount of sheet metal:

* very simple metal frame to allow a completely standard ATX board to be mounted vertically into "slide in" tracks of a mini-chassis
* mini-chassis would have a 500W or higher normal ATX power supply and a couple of larger-sized fans to pull air from bottom to top, with room for drive bays, KVMs or whatever along the bottom.
* Such a mini-chassis could be made to fit in 8U of space in a 19" rack and could house 5 standard ATX boards with enough room to allow for low-profile PCI cards to be installed. The depth would be less than 1/2 standard rack depth (perhaps about 30cm) such that two of these units could fit in the same 8U space, for a density of 10 boards per 8U space. Not the most density but still better than one system per rack unit. Many more boards could fit if room for PCI cards is not required. Of course, the chassis need not be rack mounted--it could just sit on a desk.
* boards would be mounted with the "back panel" facing front, and "internal connections" routed out the back--perhaps with connectors mounted for HDD and power fixed to the mini-chassis so that the frames with boards mounted can be simply "plugged in"
* A second mini-chassis could share PSU with the first to make more efficient use of power.

Not rocket science but that sort of "mini-rack" case would use common ATX hardware without proprietary form factors involved, and no more than one PSU per 5 PC boards. This isn't a new concept--it isn't that much different from the SGI Origin systems with multi-node bricks mentioned in another post--the only fundamental difference is that it is based on standard form factors.

Not really new (3, Informative)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303195)

Origin 3000 series servers did this a long time ago. The bricks in the system were just fans on the front and a base plate to mount the hardware onto. They were pretty easy to work on in this configuration, you could pull the brick out and replace anything inside within a couple minutes. IRIX on the other hand.........

Re:Not really new (1)

stox (131684) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303805)

IRIX had its problems, but it still did things that Linux does not. I hope that Rackable decides to open source it.

Google Redux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28303205)

Google designed their own cloud servers as separate components (ie. naked). Old news as its saves a ton of $$$ in cooling and energy costs

marketing speak and buzz words grind the skin (3, Insightful)

johncandale (1430587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303295)

"Cloud computing is causing servers to..."

What's with calling everything by near meaningless terns like 'cloud computing' all the time now?. The coverless servers are not due to 'cloud computing', they are just a different technic for server farms. It could be for databases, large analysis, supercomputing, regular network hosting, etc. There is nothing about this that makes it exclusively meant for 'cloud computing' , it's just an idea for large arrays. Unless you a a marketing tool stop saying cloud computing just because it's the hot new phrase. Save it for when it's relevant

Re:marketing speak and buzz words grind the skin (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303649)

It's the buzzword quotient, you know, the BWQ. A tech article is measured in how "cool" it is, especially for the droids working in IT management -- you know, the ones with no computer skills whatsoever that used to work in marketing and now head whole IT departments because they thought they could get a cool title like CIO and matching paycheck? -- by it's BWQ. The more buzzwords, the higher the BWQ, the higher the BWQ, the more likely it will be read those former marketing people with the title "CIO".

The more buzzwords you use, the more smart and important you sound. Hence, you should be discussing these servers as 'green energy cost-reduction centers for cloud computing,' or other such nonsense. If you do that in front of the right people, you'll get promoted to CIO! But I think you have to be wearing a "power tie" when you do it.

Re:marketing speak and buzz words grind the skin (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28305021)

Curse you for involving TLA's in this otherwise pleasant discussion. WTF?

Re:marketing speak and buzz words grind the skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28305237)

What's with calling everything by near meaningless terns like 'cloud computing' all the time now?. The coverless servers are not due to 'cloud computing', they are just a different technic for server farms.

Uh, what's a "technic?" Never heard that term before.

If it improves performance, why not? (4, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303313)

Why does a computer have an external skin anyways? It's helpful for desktops to prevent damage from spills, but in the rack mounted environment, unless the skin increases cooling somehow, it's actually worse than useless.

Re:If it improves performance, why not? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28304151)

Cases (skins to you sonny) do increase cooling by channeling airflow. Without proper channeling moving air is like herding cats.

Re:If it improves performance, why not? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28304167)

RF shielding.

Protection (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304449)

If someone comes by to fix just one server on a live rack, it helps prevent stuff like screwdrivers etc from falling into the other servers. Or cables from tangling with the wrong stuff...

Skinless is fine when you can treat each server/blade as a "card" in the "computer" (rack). Or you're running one of those massive sites that only changes stuff "by the rack". Then you just wheel out the entire rack and replace it with a new one :).

It's not so good in "messier" and more heterogeneous server rooms - where someone might stack an el-cheapo 8 port gigabit switch on the server, instead of waiting for that new expensive rack-mount switch to arrive.

Re:Protection (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28305329)

Maybe the answer for this would be getting PC makers to agree on a standard rack enclosure setup, and a standard form factor for inserted blades, regardless if the blade is a general purpose PC, a router, a switch, or another appliance. The enclosure would handle the power supply, RF protection and signal grounding, and the blade makers make sure that their machines adhere to the usual engineering specs (dimensions, airflow, power reqs, tolerances, noise, etc.)

This way, enclosure makers can make frames not just for a rack, but a tower form factor so one can have something PC sized, but be able to have multiple blades on the desktop.

The advantage of this would be mixing and matching. A Cisco blade ideal for the domain controller? Slam it in. A Dell blade being used as a RDBMS? Slide it in right by the switch and router.

What's ironic is how cycles go in computing. With blades, we are pretty much back to the passive backplane concept of yore before computing moved to the motherboard/daughterboard setup.

Re:If it improves performance, why not? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#28309361)

It probably depends upon the cooling strategy. An external skin (i.e. case) can act as a sort of fan shroud to direct air over certain components within the chassis or force a general flow of air through the enclosed space that might not be as efficient or effective without the shrouding provided by the enclosing case.

Obligatory futurama reference (3, Funny)

DeadS0ul (784783) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303435)

...You can see their bare circuits!

Naked servers have been running for ages (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303441)

Naked servers have been running for ages, motherboard disk etc. plugged together without any sort of case. Do not forget to correctly ground every component although.

Google even had their first stacks of hard drives running naked, they kept them in rack build of Lego blocks to allow air circulation I would presume. Motherboards were probably naked too although I can't tell for sure.
 

Don't drop any screws... (1)

0x537461746943 (781157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28303449)

Things usually have covers for a reason.

I can see admins trying to install a new server and accidentally dropping one of the mounting screws into the rack. Poof! Admins would probably just try to RMA the unit. I see this costing HP some money because of that.

Re:Don't drop any screws... (1)

TuaAmin13 (1359435) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304095)

Not to be picky, but if you're buying these you're probably buying a rack at a time, and from what I can judge, it all but gets rid of the screws.

Also:
The last HP server I installed the rails didn't need screws, they just snapped in.

The last HP server I built (yes, I built about 12 HP servers because they decided to send us all the parts SEPARATELY and we had to assemble them in house) needed just the wrench they include on the top of the case. None of the screws were loose such that you could drop them.

I agree with you that things could potentially go wrong, but I'm sure HP will find some excuse to void your warranty.

Just like every other server (2, Funny)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304015)

Except these are designed to arrive with the hoods "pre-lost", saving us the trouble.

What about the RFI? (1)

Oloryn (3236) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304201)

Running servers naked is likely to make them a larger spewer of RFI (Radio Frequency Interference). All those computers are nice until the FCC comes along and says you have to shut it down because you're interfering with the neighbors.

Re:What about the RFI? (2, Insightful)

Kaboom13 (235759) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304283)

The special enclosure (that also supplies cooling) shields it to FCC standards I'm sure. It's not like one of the biggest computer hardware manufacturers doesn't know about FCC regulations.

Re:What about the RFI? (1)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308683)

I would think properly mounted in a rack that the rack iteself would provide sufficent RFI sheilding. The fronts and backs acting almost like a faraday cage, and sides being pure metal.

RTFA (3, Insightful)

adolf (21054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28304403)

I see a few confused posts here about "WTF? Cooling?"

Just RTFA, folks. It's a blade server arrangement, not a standalone computer. These "naked" computers are nothing more than a pair of dual-proc computers, in a 1U-ish chassis without a lid, which needs to slide into the appropriate rack-mounted housing in order to work. This housing includes all of the cooling and power supply goodness one would expect, and (of course) includes a top panel to promote useful airflow and limit RFI.

I don't see much "new" about these things at all, since AFAICT most/all "blade servers" were already naked since their inception.

Color me unimpressed.

Re:RTFA (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28308431)

Actually HP's b and c class blade servers had/have a full enclosure for each blade.

Re:RTFA (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28311061)

Ewwww, look at you! All trying to live up this "NEWS for Nerds". It's Friday, dammit, let us have our Gossip for Nerds!

Stupid Question (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28305009)

The blade itself is called an ExSO.

Is the frame it lives in called an ExSO Skeleton?

I can't see the transformer brick (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28305401)

Is this thing running on DC?

What goes around comes around (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28306125)

Back in the good old days we first had computers that were made out of cased modules. Then we made computers out of PC boards that fitted into racks with backplanes. Then (in our case) we combined 3 CPU/memory boards into one chassis, with common fans and PSU, only we were too young and ignorant back in 1981 to know that Marketing had to call it a "blade system".

Interesting layout (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#28306329)

It's a bit silly: for scalable, cheap, replaceable systems, it makes sense, especially by putting the IO in the front for both systems that are in that box. And it avoids some of the single point of failure and high add-on expenses of blade servers, especially the cost of the multiple internal switches and remote KVM capabilities. (Has anyone else run into the "turn off spashimage in grub" problem to get access to the serial port boot console? That is a royal pain.)

But I'm concerned that people will install both of their "high availability" servers inside their skinless server, not realize this is what their upstream site did, and be screwed when it loses power. And power supplies _do_ fail.

Re:Interesting layout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28316541)

I've gotta admit, I don't understand the advantage of having the network ports in the front of the server. It looks like power at least is still in the back. So now there are cables on both sides of the box. How is that going to work if you need to slide the box out for maintenance? Are there cable arms in both the front and the back? I can't see how one would work in the front.

If the only reason they did this is, as the article states, so that it can be "serviced from the cold aisle", I really don't see that as an advantage. I'd usually rather work in the hot aisle. I hate air conditioning blowing up my trouser leg.

(Posting anon because I modded)

Interesting concept (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28307173)

But of more importance to trolls: is the server also petrified?

The rock, the rope, the axe, and a few scientists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28316599)

The building, however, will need shielding or - depending on scale - birds will fall out of the sky and the electronic blackout might cover a square mile or six (for starters). Carrying chocolate or milk around might not be a fun idea. Actually...

Well then, carbon-boron shielding, perhaps ? And the random standing-wave artifacts ought to be really fun to pinpoint. They might consider using damping-rods, as in traditional reactors. MHD ? Salts ? Plus, they'd look really, er, cool. And they're also really useful, when the plot calls for some suspense, for example.

Reminds me of the Manhattan Project. A gaggle of Nobel-grade scientists manned the axe and the deuterium-filled buckets, just in case the first rod and graphite reactor also became the world's first china syndrome - or just blew up (some weren't to sure). The rock hanging from a rope was a last-ditch 'safety measure'.

It might put a bit of a strain - on the supply of deltas, you know...

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