Feeds

Big Blue trots out Xeon E5-2600 server lineup

One tower, two racks, one blade ... and this other thing

High performance access to file storage

IBM announced a passel of shiny new x86 iron this week, all built around Intel's two-socket Xeon E5-2600 chip, which formally debuted on Tuesday – although select customers such as Big Blue have been fiddling with that server chip for months.

IBM generates a lot of its revenues and profits in hardware and software from mainframe and Power servers, but its x86-based System x rack and tower and BladeCenter blade server businesses can, in any given quarter, generate as much revenues as those mainframe and Power boxes individually.

IBM's System x boxes are often sold into the same accounts, as well, so Big Blue has to hustle and get various tower, rack, and blade servers out there when Intel does a chip announcement to keep the x86 competition out of its accounts – and with this week's announcements, it has.

The integrated PCI-Express 3.0 controllers on Intel's new "Jaketown" Xeon E5-2600 processor now allow server makers such as IBM to get the first PCI-Express 3.0 servers in their lines out the door. Some of IBM's Power7-based servers are still using PCI-Express 1.0 slots, and only last October others got PCI-Express 2.0 slots for the first time.

For many database clustering and supercomputing jobs where high-speed and high-bandwidth networking are key, the addition of PCI-Express 3.0 peripheral slots is as important as the addition of two more cores – up to eight in the Xeon E5-2600 line, a boost from the six in the Xeon 5600s – and the doubling of main memory capacity to 768GB.

This extra I/O bandwidth may or may not be important to customers using IBM's tower servers, which get tucked under desks and put in closets in remote office locations among its large enterprise customers as well as being sold into SMB shops by Big Blue's myriad channel partners. But the new System x3500 M4 tower server announced this week will no doubt be appealing to many SMB shops and enterprise customers because it has three times the disk capacity as the System x3500 M3 server it replaces in the IBM lineup.

IBM System x3500 M4

Tower of power: System x3500 M4

The System x3500 M4 can support all sixteen models of the Xeon E5-2600s although not all of those parts are standard. At the moment, using registered DDR3 memory sticks, the main memory on this two-socket box tops out at 384GB using 16GB memory sticks in the box's dozen memory slots per socket. Later this year, IBM will support load-reduced LR-DIMM DDR3 main memory, which will allow for the three memory slots per channel on the Xeon E5 socket to be loaded up with 32GB sticks.

The machine has an optical drive bay, an empty 5.25-inch media bay, and four storage bays that can house a total of 32 2.5-inch drives. One larger bay that holds eight 3.5-inch disks or flash drives is also available, and the system has ServerRAID M5110 and M1115 disk controllers on the motherboard with RAID 0, 1, and 10 support – if you want to add RAID 5 to this controller, you have to pay for an optional daughter card. IBM is also offering a 6Gb/sec SAS controller, since the SAS controller on the Intel "Patsburg" C600 chipset tops out at 3Gb/sec speeds.

With 900GB SAS disks, you top out at 28.8TB with 2.5-inch drives. If you can get by with SATA, you can slide in 32 of the 1TB SATA disks and push it up to 32TB, and if you want 3.5-inch disks, you can put up to eight 3TB units into the chassis.

The x3500 M4 has eight PCI-Express 3.0 slots: five x8 and three x16, and you need to have the second processor in the system to make use of the second and third x16 slots.

IBM has chosen Intel silicon to put four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the mobo. There is a wide variety of Broadcom, Emulex, Intel, and QLogic networking adapters that support Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet speeds, as well as QLogic, Brocade, and Emulex Fibre Channel adapters for storage.

The System x3500 M4 can be tipped on its side and slipped into a 5U rack-mount chassis if you want a fat racker with lots of disk drives.

In its base configuration, the System x3500 M4 with a single four-core Xeon E5-2609 (2.4GHz), 4GB of memory, and no disk costs $1,665.

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Rack 'em up

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.