Feeds

Rackable stays horizontal with x64 servers

Now with more density

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

Rackable Systems might be a niche player in the server racket, but the company's server engineering has allowed it to stay in business since 1999 and still, in many ways, set the pace for density in the data center. Today, the company revved its 2U rack servers, dubbed the C2005.

Unlike the commercial blade server and chassis designs from Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Dell, and a few other tier-one server makers that have only nominal market share in blades (you know who you are, Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu-Siemens, Hitachi, and NEC), Rackable's servers mount horizontally in racks that have servers in both the back and the front of the rack.

Each Rackable machine is half as deep as a standard rack server. Rackable drives server density back-to-front instead of by packing lots of skinny servers vertically in a blade chassis and then stacking chassis on chassis. Either approach - half-depth rack or blade - requires plenty of engineering to cram the features of a standard two-socket server into what amounts to half the space or less.

The neat bit about Rackable's designs is that using half-depth rack servers in the back and front of a rack creates a kind of chimney in the middle of the rack, which lets cold air for cooling the iron to be pulled in from the data center aisles and then sucked out through the center of the rack in a manner that does not create hot and cold spots in the data center. (Yes, data centers have what can be called weather).

This is a very clever, and devilishly simple, design concept. The wonder is that more companies don't make rack servers like this. It all comes down to volume economics and the profit margins that come from sticking with full-depth rack motherboards (which is cheaper than doing engineering) or by creating custom blade boards that fit into standard racks. Every server company makes its choices and the market decides.

With the C2005 rack servers, Rackable is making the top and bottom of the 2U rack server independently configurable, with four different options on the top of the server for disk storage and two different options for the front, for eight unique possible configurations. On the top section, customers can choose to have four 3.5-inch disks, eight 2.5-inch disks, a mix of four 2.5-inch disks and two 3.5-inch disks, or two 3.5-inch disks with space on the right hand side for five low-profile PCI slots.

If customers don't need the expansion slots, they can put in a DVD drive and an internal 3.5-inch drive in the space at the bottom of the server case, and they can also put one 3.5-inch or two 2.5-inch disks behind the service processor's LCD display on the front of the server, which folds out to reveal the drives. The machines that don't have the five extra PCI slots have one PCI slot on a riser board coming off the motherboard. The C2005 supports up to ten 2.5-inch drives and up to five 3.5-inch SAS or SATA-II drives.

Like other current Rackable machines, the C2005 supports SSD drives from Intel, specifically the 32 GB and 64 GB enterprise-class drives (the X25-E in the Intel catalog) for high IOPS and write environments as well as the 80 GB and 160 GB SSD drives Intel has put out for low-write environments (these are the X25-M drives).

Best practices for enterprise data

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?