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IBM Blade Server vs Dell Blade Server



Queries the following Comparison is trying to Answer:


IBM Blades ( HS21 & LS21 & LS41 & HS21xm ) VS Dell Blades ( M905 & M805 & M605 & M600)  

IBM Blades H Chassis VS DELL  PowerEdge M1000e

How does DELL Blades compare to IBM Blades?

Advantages & Disadvantages of DELL & IBM Chassis & Blades

What is better DELL Blades or IBM Blades? How?

Independent Unbiased Comparison DELL Blades & IBM Blades

IBM Blade Server vs Dell Blade Server


DELL Blades VS IBM Blades Introduction:


If you have reached this page you are more probably already decided on using Blades, but still can't solve the puzzle of which Vendor to go with. As many vendors are highly competing to your blade purchase we had put many blades comparison on our site. In this Comparison we are comparing IBM H Chassis & Dell newest offering M1000e from an independent point of view. Other Blades comparisons can be reached from the menu on the left side.



             IBM Blades      

DELL Blades
Chassis flexibility

BladeCenter S, BladeCenter E, BladeCenter H, BladeCenter T, BladeCenter HT, Common set of blades, switches, I/O fabrics and management infrastructure

PowerEdge 1955

PowerEdge M1000e

ITComparison Team Comments


IBM Blades vs Dell Blades

IBM has several chassis sizes with different specs and sizes to meet the special requirement of every organization and options which can be interoperated between different chassis, where Dell is only offering the M1000e chassis at the moment which is not interopable with their previous chassis PowerEdge 1955. So M1000e is a single option that Dell offer as chassis and it does not has any compatibility with earlier chassis.
Blade server flexibility

Intel® Xeon®, AMD Opteron, IBM POWER™, Cell BE™

Intel Xeon, AMD Opteron

ITComparison Team Comments


IBM Blades vs Dell Blades

IBM are offering more blades platforms than Dell specially with them including Power and Cell BE blades while Dell are not offering any equivalent to these platforms, which can be a great advantage to customers who care to run operating system and applications which best supported on these platforms (Ex: AIX and Linux for power). As usual AMD & Intel is all dell got to offer.






Fully Redundant



Blades w/ hotswap HDD per chassis


Fully Redundant Blades w/ hotswap HDD

































ITComparison Team Comments



Dell Blades vs IBM Blades

After IBM has released their new blade HS22, they have added HotSwap SCSI as a part of the blade itself. So IBM Blades are no longer requiring an expansion unit to contain hotswap Harddisk, which kill the main advantage that Dell & HP were always depending on when competing against IBM. Though even with IBM now offering internal Hotswap HDD & with them succeeding to avoid the bad design other vendors followed and put the harddisk over the CPU, their customers seems to be adopted to the boot of SAN idea, which IBM has been promoting for a while with their blade & which give an easy protection against hardware failure & help in building a Disaster Recovery Solution. Therefore IBM blades does not have to sacrifice an expansion unit size to add Hotswap HDDs any more, which get its blade density to be very competitive when compared with Dell.
Redundancy - Dual power connections to each blade

- Dual I/O connections to each blade

- Dual paths through the backplane to I/O, power and KVM


- Single power connections to each blade

- Single I/O connections on M600 and M605 blades

- Single I/O paths for Certain I/O slots on M805 & M905

ITComparison Team Comments It seems IBM is a clear winner on blades redundancy at the moment. This can be a major decision factor for large enterprises, as it can be a major availability factor.
Hot Swap HDD


Solid State Drives (SSD)

Require Expansion unit which waste 1U and reduce the number of blades per chassis




No need for expansion unit which save space



Not Available

ITComparison Team Comments






Dell Blades vs IBM Blades

It seems Dell are having an advantage in being able to fit larger number of blades which includes HotSwap HDD into their M1000e chassis, but IBM has a valid argument as most blades customers depend on boot from SAN which provide them with stateless blades and all kind of advantages including the ability of taking snap shots of their blades. In addition, with IBM introducing Solid State Drives it has even reduced the need for hotswap harddisks even further as these have no spinner and their reliability are way better than SCSI HDD. It seems Dell still not offering Solid State Driver at the moment, but might be in the future.

It seems a decision of more blades with hotswap HDD per chassis versus a real redundancy is the greatest comparing factors between Dell and IBM blades. Dell can fit more blades with hotswap HDD where only IBM can offer a fully redundant blade and Chassis.

Illuminated path to blade components

Light Path Diagnostics uses battery to help diagnose even without power to the blade.

Dell offer diagnostics LEDs beside some components, but will not led without power.

ITComparison Team Comments Better and faster serviceability in the IBM Blades with the ability to pinpoint the problem even if the blades is not powering up, which is not offered by Dell.
Event identification

First Failure Data Capture

Nothing Equivalent

ITComparison Team Comments IBM Blades got a better  non over-lapping error reporting through their Management Module which help in resolving cascaded problems faster.
Integrated 4X InfiniBand® switch modules

Managed InfiniBand Switches

 Unmanaged InfiniBand Switches

ITComparison Team Comments IBM offer easier deployment and management of their InfiniBand switches & more functionality as they are offering managed Infiniband switches where the ones offered by Dell are unmanaged.
Blade deployment and redeployment

Open Fabric Manager, Uses standard switches, single login across 100 chassis

No Equivelant

ITComparison Team Comments



Dell Blades vs IBM Blades

IBM Open Fabric Manager provide automatic failover for failing blade to another blade using boot from SAN functionality. In addition, it removes all the work involved in replacing a failing blade.

Dell Does not offer anything equivalent to IBM Open Fabric Manager & will require the admin to reconfigure the SAN Zoning & the network VLANs  when replacing any blade wasting precious time & increase the downtime required to replace a blade.

Built-in Central Management Module  Yes  Almost
ITComparison Team Comments



IBM Blades vs Dell Blades

IBM offer a hardware management module which fit in a special management slots of the IBM Chassis. It does not use up any Blades slots and does not require any software installation. It offers many monitoring & management features.

Dell user Chassis Management Controller (CMC) which seems to mainly offer monitoring & log readings, not much of a centralized management. Dell still more dependant on directly managing a blade by blade connecting directly to the iDRAC chip placed into each blade.

Efficient utilization of available power resources


Active Energy Manager

Dell Power Manager

ITComparison Team Comments






IBM Blades vs Dell Blades

IBM power management software are able to monitor the power per blade, per chassis, & per module.

Dell Power Manager can monitor power per blade & Chassis, but not per modules.

IBM Active Energy manager can integrate with third party monitoring tools, where Dell Power Manager does not seems to be integration ready.

IBM Active Energy Manager can cap power usage based on trend data & without risking the operation of the blades, where Dell only offer a hard threshold which can cause operations problems.

IBM Active Energy Manager can monitor IBM Blades, System X, IBM Storage,  P-Series, & anything connected to IBM Intelligent PDUs, Where Dell Power Manager can only manage Dell Blades.

Unpacking Offering Assembeled at customer site (Default)

Fully Installed (Charge apply)

Fully Installed + third party apps installed (Charge Apply)

Fully Installed (Default)
ITComparison Team Comments



IBM Blades vs Dell Blades

Dell had made a great deal of them delivering their blades fully installed & ready to power on and not having to assemble it at customers site. Although this definitely can save customers time, it can't be the main selling point for a blade offering. As both IBM & HP has a similar offering, but they explicitly charge for it where dell had implicitly accounted for it in each chassis delivered.

Furthermore, IBM & HP offer to deliver your blades fully installed with third party apps & modules integrated, which Dell still not offering.

Investment Protection Across Chassis compatibility Each Chassis is a fully different game.
ITComparison Team Comments



IBM Blades vs Dell Blades

IBM has been successful in making their chassis totally backward compatible with their older modules and blades and most of their newer modules and blades fit in their older chassis with performance restrictions in rare cases, but that offer a great investment protection to customers who is upgrading their chassis comparing to Dell which forcing their customers to toss their old blades and modules out as none of it is compatible across chassis. Who knows if the next Dell chassis will follow up the same path as their current one, which mean a total lost of investment when upgrading.


Other Related Comparisons:


   IBM Blade Server vs HP Blade Server 

   IBM Blade Server vs SUN Blade Server

   HP Blade Server  vs Dell Blade Server

   HP Bade Server   vs SUN Blade Server

   Dell Blade Server vs SUN Blade Server

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