Feeds

Super Micro gets dense with blades

Twins are hot - servers, that is

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

IDF Motherboard and server maker Super Micro Computer is showing off a new double-density blade server that's based on its Twin family of half-width (not half-wit) motherboards, and is bragging that it has industry-leading density - and that's meant to be a good thing, not the kind your boss succumbs to.

The new box is member of the SuperBlade family of blade servers and chassis, and this particular double-density model is going to be called the TwinBlade. It joins two other Twin servers, a 1U rack-mounted model that puts two half-width motherboards side by side in a single server case (which debuted a year ago), and the Twin2, which puts four of these boards on trays and slides them into a 2U rack chassis complete with disks and power supplies for the whole lot. (El Reg told you all about the Twin2 machines here.)

The TwinBlade that Super Micro is demonstrating this week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco takes a bunch of these half-width server boards, tips them up on their sides, and wraps them in a blade shell with a blade midplane, cramming 20 half-height, two-socket servers into a 7U blade chassis. This is a blade chassis that up until now has been able to hold only 10 full-height blade servers. That's double the processing density, and more importantly is more density than the Twin and Twin2 rack servers offer. Those two machines give you a server in 0.5 units of rack capacity, while the TwinBlade squeezes it down to 0.35 rack units per server. With the TwinBlade, you can get a total of 240 quad-core Xeon 5500 processors into a 42U standard server rack, for a total of 960 cores.

Super Micro Twin Servers

Super Micro's Twin, Twin2, and TwinBlade (Click to Enlarge)

By the way, that core density is not as high as what HP delivered in May 2008 with the Harpertown Xeon 5400 processors on the ProLiant BLx220c G5 blade server and its c7000 BladeSystem enclosure, which weighs in at 10U. The BLx220c G5 blade packed two whole two-socket Xeon 5400 servers onto a single full-height blade, and the chassis could house 16 blades, for a total of 32 server nodes per chassis. That works out to a slightly lower node density of 0.31 rack units per server node. HP can put four c7000s of these in a rack, with 2U of space to spare, for a total of 1,024 cores. While this was good enough for 2008, the Harpertown processors have about half the oomph and about a third to a quarter of the memory bandwidth of Nehalem EP Xeon 5500 processors, so in terms of performance, the Super Micro TwinBlade would smoke the HP double-blade ProLiant setup. The wonder is why HP has not put out a G6 version of its own two-node blade yet with low-wattage Xeon 5500 parts.

IBM has a two-node Xeon 5500 setup for its iDataplex dx360 M2, which comes in a 2U rack chassis. But the iDataplex boxes use non-standard racks that feature half-depth servers, so making direct comparisons with the density of the Super Micro TwinBlade and HP ProLiant BLx220c G5 is tricky. It is safe to say that it's in the same ballpark in terms of server nodes per rack unit of space, once you go on the third dimension.

Super Micro is also showing off some storage tweaks on the rack-based Twin machines at IDF. The 2U Twin machine now supports six hot-swap 3.5-inch disks, and the Twin2 setup in the 2U chassis with the trays for the four server nodes can now support six hot-swap 2.5-inch disk drives, all of them shared by the four nodes in the rack unit.

At press time, Super Micro was unable to say what the new TwinBlade setup would cost or when it would be available. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.