Boston SuperFlex MicroBlade review

Space saving isn't the only benefit here…

Boston SuperFlex MicroBlade

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It takes a while to appreciate what the SuperFlex MicroBlade has to offer, but in essence it's all about cramming a huge amount of computing power into a minimal amount of rack space. This it does well, at the same time delivering the kind of redundancy and high availability options needed for such deployments. It's not for everyone but companies looking for a high-density blade server platform can add another vendor to the list of those worth talking to.

We liked

It's hard not to be impressed by the sheer scalability of the SuperFlex MicroBlade which, as the marketing boasts, enables up to 5,488 Xeon processing cores to be deployed in a single 42U rack. We also liked the modularity of the platform making it easy to build in just the right amount of redundancy, as well as start small and grow the computing platform to meet changes in demand.

We disliked

There are lots of options and extras that can be incorporated into the SuperFlex MicroBlade solution and working out how they all fit together and what you might actually need is a complex business, with little advice to be found in the accompanying documentation. That said, most buyers will have experts on hand to work it all out, whether in-house or through a system integrator, so it's not a major issue.

Storage is limited, but this is likely to be handled separately, and our only other concern was with the SDN capabilities. A nice to have option, SDN is very much in its infancy and locking into a particular implementation, albeit based on open standards, could be counterproductive. Moreover, as delivered, the SuperMicro branded SDN management interface is separate from that used to manage the SuperFlex MicroBlade platform as a whole.

Final verdict

Clearly a lot more than just another server, the Boston SuperFlex MicroBlade is a highly scalable compute solution likely to find a niche in mid to larger sized businesses looking for a consolidation, private cloud or shared hosting platform that won't break the bank.

Performance is the main draw here, but high levels of redundancy plus integrated switching and SDN capabilities are equally important, and the SuperFlex MicroBlade has all this and more.