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I'm looking at buying a 3 year old blade server. My question is, if I buy it and want to insert a current model blade, will it fit?

Also, if the chassis goes "POP" and I need to replace it, will the current model chassis fit 3 year old blades?

What about Power supply replacements?

The chassis I'm looking at is this:

  • IBM FRU / PN: M8677-3XM with DVD reader

The blades are all IBM HS20's.

We've had a good run with IBM hardware and although there is some nice ex-lease HP hardware available, my understanding is that backwards comparability is not so well maintained. Is this true?

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That's "compatibility". "Compatability" sounds like "compotatoesability" to French (and perhaps Spanish) ears ... ;-) About the main topic, I have no idea but I would suspect no compatibility is to be expected. –  jlliagre Feb 18 '10 at 0:29

4 Answers 4

The answer is - it depends. IBM previously allowed a mix of their older blades with the newer HS22 blades but they've since changed it to state that with the BladeCenter E (8677) chassis, the HS22's are allowed when all of these conditions are met:

1) when placed in their own Power Domain (meaning - only HS22's in blade bays 1-7 or 8-14) 2) when 2000W power supplies or higher are used 3) when the Advanced Management Module (AMM) is installed.

A caveat to the above is if you upgrade your existing chassis to the 2320W power supplies, then you will be able to put in HS22's anywhere you want in the chassis - however the 2320W power supplies require more power than the 2000W power did, so you'll need to make sure you check your power load in your rack.

Hope this helps. Come check out my blade specific blog at http://BladesMadeSimple.com

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I have a BladeCenter E chassis from before it was called BladeCenter E. It used to be the only BladeCenter chassis offered. It's an 8677 as well.

I just put a brand new HS22 in it yesterday and that server is working just fine. (well, I can't get it to boot to CD, but I think that's because my media tray is very old and/or incompatible with new blades.)

You'll need an Advanced Management Module, a regular Management Module sold with the chassis if it's old enough won't handle an HS22 I'm told.

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You are right to have concerns about the ability to replace/upgrade equipment in these chassis. We've got a 3-year-old Dell Blade Centre, and the only blades that will fit it are ones that were designed for it. None of the new ones will.

The reason behind this is the same reason behind any IT upgrade. Interfaces change, new standards are introduced, more efficient ways of doing things are developed.

My suggestion is that if you think the 3-year-old blade centre will last you for three years, and you can take the risk of not having warranty, then it could be good 'investment' (I use that term loosly). In three years time, if you've run out of capacity, then buy another, 3-year-old blade centre to replace it with. But when you do, try to buy spare parts at the same time if you can (spare HDD's, RAM, server chassis, etc).

Of course the great thing about blades is that because of their high density, you can often overcome their lack of overall power (compared to brand new, $100k systems) by clustering them all into one big workhorse :)

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That is because dell totally revamped their blade design (size, connectors), which IBM never did ;) –  TomTom May 13 '10 at 5:56

I have a number of IBM BladeCenters and from what I remember of my sales representative telling me, the original E chassis from 7-8 years ago is still planned for production for another 2 or 3 years. Likely support will continue after that.

Overall, the chassis is just sheet metal and a connection plane. The majority of the moving parts and things likely to go wrong or needing upgrading are plug-in modules. Those can be replaced as-needed.

All off the blades fit all of the chassis and likely will continue, so I wouldn't worry about that. I have blades of 3 different vintages across 7 years in chassis of the same ages.

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