Phoenix has been developing BIOS for the server market since the 1980s. The key server market requirements of reliability, availability, performance, thermal management, security, and a green initiative align perfectly with Phoenix’s BIOS core offering.
The server market is largely composed of two types of servers—server appliances (e.g. Storage SAN, NAS), and general purpose computing platforms (e.g. Blades).
File servers (also known as Network Attached Storage, or NAS), offer file system-level storage down to the byte-granular level. Disk Servers (a.k.a. Storage Area Network, or SAN), offer disk block (sector-level) storage services, allowing appliances to be added to the network that together, represent one or several virtualized drives with optional replication and RAID protection.
For disk servers running minimal operating systems, Phoenix BIOS solutions can be used to create a perfect-fit, highly-optimized firmware platform that can load the custom operating system and application, optimizing the ROM footprint, boot time, and system complexity.
To handle the increasing computing needs of employees, enterprises are increasingly turning towards blade servers. Consolidating computing into blades increases density through form factor. The common array of blades allows them to be centrally-administered. Also, with virtualization, a single array of hardware blades can run virtual machines that allows the migration of jobs from one blade to the next seamlessly, and without the end user actually being aware of the migration.
Density of computing in blades gives rise to a performance/power dissipation tradeoff. The challenge is to minimize power consumption when no computing is performed, and then offer as much computing capacity as possible when required, while still fitting into the thermal operating envelope of the blade and enclosure. Performance and power management are highly-coupled and dynamic in blade systems.
ODMs developing dense blade solutions need firmware that optimizes the dynamic range of computing within a fixed thermal operating envelope. Phoenix BIOS solutions provide the requisite firmware required to maintain safe operating levels while optimizing performance as needed.
Dense blades also require additional support at the firmware level—provisioning. As more and more blades enter the data center, the need to install and configure operating systems and applications on each newly-installed blade becomes more and more critical. Phoenix’s provisioning solution is Platform Update Facility, a Firmbase® Technology based application that can initialize and restore all the configurable bits in a blade, including CMOS settings, Flash, disk partitions, and the partition table itself, and even individual files and ranges of files.