• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

RLX blade server

Aug 24, 20043 mins
Data Center

* The Reviewmeister takes a look at the RLX 600ex

Last week, we reviewed blade servers from IBM and HP. This week, the Reviewmeister takes on the RLX 600ex.

RLX uses three 208V AC 10-amp connections from the RLX 600ex chassis to an optional power-distribution unit. In turn, the connections feed the 6U high chassis’ three power supplies. An optional RLX Control Tower XT management blade module can be installed – we tested the blade servers with this option.

Control Tower XT is the best management interface that we’ve seen for Linux, but it’s an almost $4,000 option, and also costs an extra $199 per managed node. However, rapid provisioning, a free feature contained in Control Tower XT, costs extra in the IBM and HP offerings.

A management LCD is used to initially configure the RLX 600ex chassis. Each RLX 2800i blade starts with an IP address coded to the slot where it resides. With the Control Tower XT software, an HTTP logon is used to start Control Tower XT. Red Hat Linux Advanced Server was shipped on the blades we received – this is done for free, although a license key must be subsequently introduced to the installation.

Control Tower XT is the rough equivalent of the IBM Management Module and Director software, as a hardware/software combination chassis administrator. It tracks faults based on SNMP, and the Intelligent Platform Management Interface specification. Like HP’s Insight Manager/iLO and IBM’s Director, Control Tower XT is used to administer, manage and provision HPC 2800i, 2.8-GHz server blades. RLX blades also can PXE boot, and the process takes about the same time to load an operating system image.

Control Tower XT manages each blade and its chassis characteristics. An initial loading of blade server information is input to Control Tower XT – there’s an auto-discovery feature that finds blades and its IP addresses automatically. Blade servers talk to the Control Tower XT management blade via a third Ethernet port on each blade server over SSL from a Control Tower Blade Agent, which must be manually activated (once) on each blade server. The management network must be kept private, as SNMP monitoring requires the use of the unsecure “public” community name.

Once devices are discovered or descriptions manually input, they must be registered before they can be managed. Control Tower XT makes it possible to control blades and components remotely, once the devices are registered. We found that Lightweight Directory Access Protocol user and group information can be successfully used to import usernames/groups quickly, simply by pointing to the LDAP server with correct credentials.

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