Super Micro launches an interesting server concept
11/5/2009 by: Theo Valich
In 2009, Supermicro seriously came of age and started to push some serious ideas around. When our web guys saw this server, they got wet dreams...not hard to imagine why.
For years now, 1U servers have been all the rage. Even with the advances of the blade form factor, 1U servers simply dominate the marketplace, even though they posses some serious disadvantages. For starters, you are limited by performance - you cannot put high TDP processors because you're limited by cooler height. Secondly, the storage subsystem can only be consisted out of four 3.5" hard drives. For instance, BSN* is currently hosted in a blade environment with dedicated SSD storage, but there are some limitations with that approach - especially in capacity [we'll leave you guessing what capacity our SLC-based SSDs are ;) ].
One potent configuration: quad high-TDP CPUs, up to 144GB DDR3 memory, dual GPGPU, 12 3.5" drives...
Under a name 2U Twin [full name is "boring" 6026TT-HD Series SuperServer], Super Micro placed two of their hot-plug DP [Dual Processor] server nodes, and a total of 12 3.5" hard drive bays. Each server node can handle six hard drives for bullet-proof RAID5 in 5+1 or RAID6 in 4+2 configuration. But the main advantage of going with 2U form factor is the fact that you can put a decent block of copper on the CPU sockets and you can put a nice 3.2 or 3.33 GHz Intel CPU. With the lowered thermal load inside the case, you can even put a GPGPU card on the top of the 2U node and that is something no 1U server offers.
In order to power 12 hard drives and a dual 1U configuration, Super Micro bundled this product with two 1.4 KW power supplies of their own make. Super Micro PSUs all come at gold-efficiency rating, and in private conversations with people close to the company, we learned that those figures are way in the 90% range.
For instance, in highest density configuration this 2U Twin can put four quad-core Nehalem-EP processors at 3.33 GHz each for a grand total of 32 Threads in Task Manager [if you load VM with both systems in] or two times 16 threads, 192GB of DDR3-1333 Registered DIMM or 48GB of regular DDR3-1333 memory, two graphics cards - soon you'll be able to put two ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics cards for a total of 10,88 TFLOPS of Single-Precision and 2.18 TFLOPS in Dual-Precision.
In order to connect this system to a network, this 2U Twin box comes with quad an Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller and there is an upgrade option for dual 40 Gbps Mellanox ConnectX Infiniband QDR controller.
This is one serious computing powerhouse taking up a mere 2U inside your cabinet. Our server guys already have couple of ideas what could be done, but we would not be surprised if Super Micro launches this SuperServer with 2.5" hard drive cages for ultra-dense SSD-filled configuration [24 SSD setup?].
Tags: Super Micro, Super Micro Computer, 3.5", HDD, 1U, 2U, 2S, 4S, 2P, 4P, Hot-Plug, hot-swap, Charles Liang, 1U form factor limit, TDP, Thermal Design Power
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