Process Area Network (PAN)
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A single Egenera BladeFrame chassis can provide up to 384 AMD or Intel processors and up to 2.3 TB of RAM all interconnected by a high-speed, low latency 48 Gigabit per second RDMA (Remote Direct Memory Access) fabric backplane, all in a standard 19 inch footprint using less than 20 kilowatts of power. Egeneras patented Processing Area Network (PAN) software manages the CPUs and memory as resource pools which are allocated to virtual servers on demand. Servers can grow, shrink and move among the available CPU resources while Egeneras PAN Manager software automatically assures that the servers identity specifically its network and storage connections remain the same. Egenera achieves this through its unique virtual Ethernet and virtual SCSI drivers, which allow a server instance to maintain its MAC addresses and LUN connections regardless of the actual physical location of the server.
Egenera's Processing Area Network does for servers what the storage area network has done for disk storage it abstracts the actual physical components through virtualization, transforming the concept of a server from a physical box to a virtual entity existing only in software that can be run on any available resources.
Egenera was the first company to develop a bladed architecture, and remains the only company with an integrated end to end virtualized platform that offers CPU, memory, network and storage virtualization in a single seamless package.
Egenera has been shipping its Processing Area Network technology to Fortune Global 1000 companies around the world since 2001. Egenera's PAN Manager software is the most mature virtualization technology available, currently in version 5.1.Egenera has deployed over 16,000 servers in mission-critical applications at nearly 200 companies in 30 countries around the world competition.
While traditional server vendors such as IBM and HP have recently begun selling bladed server systems, these should not be confused with Egenera's revolutionary PAN architecture. IBM's Blade Center and HP c-Class blades are really nothing more than legacy servers that have been made smaller, built into a single circuit board (although in many cases for large memory configurations multiple circuit boards are required) and installed into a chassis that includes built-in Ethernet and FibreChannel switches. From an architecture standpoint, these systems are no different from deploying multiple stand-alone servers and connecting them via external, standalone Ethernet and FibreChannel switches.The only advantages these systems offer over traditional stand-alone servers is compact size. The systems are just as difficult to manage and just as inflexible as the traditional stand-alone servers whose architecture they share.
Recently, many vendors have begun to offer IBM and HP bladed server products bundled together with off the shelf Hypervisors such as VMWare or Xen, claiming that these products offer the same level of flexibility as Egenera's PAN architecture. However, Egenera's PAN architecture offers several distinct advantages over such solutions, including:
- While off the shelf Hypervisors allow you to provision multiple virtual servers onto a single physical server, they do not allow you to scale out dynamically and automatically. By contrast, Egenera's PAN Manager can automatically scale applications from one CPU to over 300 CPUs without any human intervention.
Egenera's physical architecture is fully redundant and self-healing. Redundant power, switching and control nodes operate in an active active mode and can maintain full production capability even in the event of a failure. This is the reason why Egenera's Processing Area Network is the architecture of choice for mission critical applications including large Oracle RAC installations applications that no one would dream of deploying on an off the shelf hypervisor.
- Egenera's PAN Manager software monitors the resource utilization (CPU and memory) of all applications and servers, and can dynamically provision additional CPU and memory when utilization exceeds thresholds set by the customer. CPU and memory are returned to the resource pool when they are no longer needed.All of this is done automatically, without any human intervention, and does not require any reprovisioning or pre-provisioning of network or storage access.
Egenera's virtual servers are truly portable. When a virtual server moves from one processing blade to another, or is deployed on additional processing blades, there is no need to re-provision the network or storage to allow access from these new blades. While off the shelf Hypervisors allow you to live migrate virtual servers from one blade to another, the destination blade must be pre-provisioned with access to all of the logical units (LUNs) on the storage area network (permissive zoning). As you scale, hundreds of servers will have access to all of your data on your SAN, which is a serious security risk. Also, unlike off the shelf Hypervisors, Egeneras PAN Manager preserves MAC address information when moving servers, so you will have no problems with software licenses that are tied to the MAC address.
- Egenera's BladeFrame and PAN Manager are a single, integrated solution developed by and supported by one company. Egenera's BladeFrame hardware architecture was designed specifically to enable scalable, reliable and flexible virtualization of computing resources and works seamlessly with PAN Manager. By contrast, deploying off-the-shelf Hypervisors on legacy blade servers means patching together a multivendor solution of software and generic hardware that was not designed to enable virtualization.This not only limits functionality, but introduces uncertainty in the ease and speed of deployment, reliability of the combined solution and the ability of multiple vendors to quickly troubleshoot support issues.