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HP Blade Server VS IBM Blade Server


Queries the following Comparison is trying to Answer:


IBM Blades ( HS21 & LS21 & LS41 & HS21xm ) VS HP Blades ( BL460c & BL465c & BL480c BL680c& BL685c )  

IBM Blades H Chassis VS HP C-Class Blades Chassis

How does HP Blades compare to IBM Blades?

Advantages & Disadvantages of HP & IBM Chassis & Blades

What is better HP Blades or IBM Blades? How?

Independent Unbiased Comparison IBM Blades & HP Blades

IBM Blade Server vs HP Blade Server

IBM BladeCenter vs HP BladeSystem


HP 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 IBM versus HP blades as they are the two main blades vendors and highly competing to win their share of the blades market. If so you are at the right place below are a fair comparison of IBM & HP blades. If you are looking for a biased comparisons then please check the following links.


IBM vs HP blades (HP biased)

IBM Blade Server vs HP Blade Server (IBM biased)



             IBM Blades                             VS       HP Blades

Chassis flexibility

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

BladeSystem c-Class, BladeSystem p-Class, bh 5700 ATCA

ITComparison Team Comments 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 HP is only offer the c-class chassis and their older p-class chassis without any interopobility between them at all.
Blade server flexibility

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

Intel Xeon, AMD Opteron, Intel Itanium®

ITComparison Team Comments IBM are offering more blades platforms than HP specially with them including Power and Cell BE blades while HP 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).






Fully Redundant



Blades w/ hotswap HDD per chassis


Fully Redundant Blades w/ hotswap HDD





































ITComparison Team Comments It seems HP has succeeded to fit more blades per single chassis 16 blade vs 14 for IBM. As well HP can fit 16 blades with hotswap HDD where IBM can fit up to 14 of them (Please note as IBM had released HS22 they need no more to add an expansion unit to add hotswap HDD, so now they can fit 14 blades with hotswap HDD in their Chassis), but when it come to redundancy IBM has a long wining of the race. IBM chassis can fit 14 redundant blades where HP only can fit 8 semi-redundant blades in their chassis. We called HP semi-redundant blades as they are not fully redundant as explained under the redundancy comparison.
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 BL460c and BL465c blades

- Single I/O paths for mezzanine slots 2 and 3 on the BL480c and BL685c

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 It seems HP are having an advantage in being able to fit larger number of blades which includes HotSwap HDD into their C-class 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 HP 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 HP and IBM blades. HP 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.

HP 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 HP.
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

Two ports/card, managed

Two ports/card unmanaged

ITComparison Team Comments IBM offer easier deployment and management of their InfiniBand switches as they are managed through the management modules where the ones offered by HP are unmanaged.
Blade deployment and redeployment

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

Virtual Connect, Uses proprietary switches, single login across four chassis

ITComparison Team Comments
IBM Open Fabric Manager Feature HP Virtual Connect
All Ethernet and Fibre Channel switches—Cisco, Nortel, Brocade, QLogic Switch support Single proprietary HP Ethernet switch, Single proprietary HP Fibre Channel switch
Automated and integrated with resource pooling Failover support Requires manual intervention
Virtually all BladeCenter chassis, blades Compatibility Single c-Class chassis support
Single login via Advanced Management Module across 100 chassis Interface and capacity Separate login to Virtual Connect Manager across four chassis
Built-in Management Module  Yes  No
ITComparison Team Comments 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.

HP does not offer a hardware MM, but provide a management software that will require you to install it on a blade or two if redundancy required. It can be installed as well on independent servers. Its disadvantage for HP as it will use up blades slots and require the customers to do installation.

Efficient utilization of available power resources


Power Regulator, a bit Less functionality and over $400 charge

ITComparison Team Comments HP and IBM power management software are offering almost the same functionality with IBM leading with few enhancements. In addition,  IBM is providing their PowerExecutive as freebie where HP is charging for it. As far power consumption go it seems both vendor are doing almost as good and the difference in consumption depend on the configuration ordered by the customer. Most of our testing resulted with power difference less than 5% of the two with IBM consuming a bit less in most scenarios.
Investment Protection Across Chassis compatibility Each chassis is a fully different game
ITComparison Team Comments 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 HP 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 HP 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 Dell 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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