Oracle refreshes the entire x86 Rackmount server and Blades portfolio

On June 28th 2010, Oracle announced a very significant update to both the x86 based rack mount server portfolio and the Blades portfolio.

The rack server updates include all of the existing 2 socket x86 servers, upgrading them to 'M2' versions with access to the latest Intel Xeon Processor 5600 Series CPUs (formerly known as Westmere-EP), and introduced two totally new, high end enterprise grade, 4 and 8 socket capable servers in completely new form-factors, using the Intel Xeon Processor 7500 Series CPUs (formerly known as Nehalem-EX).

The Blades portfolio also received significant enhancements, including an update to the 2 socket X6270 blade introducing an M2 version, and a significant update to the storage capabilities of this and other blades through the introduction of a configurable storage blade, the Sun Blade Storage Module M2 and SAS-2 storage fabric throughout the Sun Blade 6000 chassis. In addition, the networking capabilities of the blade chassis have been enhanced with the introduction of two new Network Express Modules (NEMs) providing an updated M2 version of the Sun Blade  6000 Virtualised Multi-Fabric 10GbE NEM and an in-chassis 24 port 10GbE Network Switch, the Sun Blade 6000 Ethernet  Switch NEM 24p 10GbE, both incorporating integrated SAS-2 disk storage zoning capabilities to complement the Sun Storage Blade M2 and allow extremely flexible disk storage configurations within the Sun Blade 6000 chassis.
Lets take a look at the Rack Mount server updates in more detail

The Sun Fire X4800
This is Oracle's new high end x86 enterprise system, providing up to 8 sockets of Intel Xeon Processor 7500 series CPUs, huge memory, hot-plug PCI-Express gen 2 IO options, including access to up to 8 x 1GbE and 8 x 10GbE NICs and compute scalability up to 64 cores (128 threads with Intel Hyperthreading enabled).

A quick summary of the features...
  • 4 or 8 Socket configurations of Intel Xeon 7500 series CPU's
  • Up to 1TByte of in-system memory using todays 8GB DIMMs
  • 1 new 5RU form factory chassis accommodating pluggable modules...
    • 4 x CPU Modules (CMODs), incorporating 2 x CPU sockets and 32 DIMM slots
    • 8 x PCI-Express ExpressModule (EM) Hot-pluggable/swappable expansion modules
    • 4 x PSU modules
    • 4 x Fan modules
    • Hot-Pluggable Service processor (Oracle ILOM) Module
  • 8 x 2.5" SAS Disk Drives (Hot-plug/swap with appropriate software/hardware RAID configuration)
Some pointers to more information...

The Sun Fire X4470
This server provides up to 4 sockets of intel Xeon Processor 7500 series CPU's, in only a 3RU chassis with huge memory capacity and IO bandwidth, providing an ideal platform for virtualisation and consolidation or enterprise critical workloads.

Taking a closer look at some of its specifications...
  • 2 or 4 Socket configurations of Intel Xeon 7500 series CPU's
  • Up to 512GBytes of memory across up to 64 DIMMs (using 8GB DIMMs)
  • 6 x 2.5" Local SAS2/SATA Disk bays with hot-plug/swap capability
  • Up to 10 PCI-Express gen 2 Low Profile Expansion Slots
  • Dual redundant, hot-plug/swap Power Supplies
  • Redundant Fan modules with hot-swap/plug
Some pointers to more information...

The Sun Fire X4270 M2 servers
Oracle has refreshed the existing Sun Fire X4270 server line replacing the current X4270 and X4275 with two models of Sun Fire X4270 M2. The two new chassis introduce a considerable number of changes under the skin providing more choices around storage and expansion capabilities as well as providing access to the latest generation of Intel CPUs. 
Both models provide two sockets of Intel Xeon Processor 5600 Series CPU's, and 1 or 2 socket configurations are supported. With up to 18 DIMM slots and todays 8GB DIMMs, memory capacity is up to 144GB. I/O card expansion is provided by up to 6 PCIe Gen 2 Low profile slots, but an option is available to replace two of the rear PCI slots with a rear mounted dual 2.5" SATA disk cage (expected to be used for OS installation, leaving the front accessible disks as general storage without worrying about accidental OS disk interference during hot-swap procedures). All of the front disk bays on both chassis are capable of accommodating a full complement of SSD's should customers want such a configuration.

So ... to the chassis specifics...  
The X4270 M2 - 12 Disk chassis
This variant replaces and updates the previous Sun Fire X4275 server, providing  12 x 3.5" SAS2 disk bays capable of providing up to 24TBytes of storage capacity when filled with 2TB disks. 

The X4270 M2 - 24 Disk chassis
This is a new chassis variant providing an extremely high 24 disk count using 2.5" disk drives, providing high spindle counts and high speed SAS2. 

For more details, check out the links below...

The Sun Fire X4170 M2 server
A refresh of the original Sun Fire X4170, now targeting the deployment of scalable Enterprise applications. Using the same motherboard as the Sun Fire X4270 M2 systems, the same capabilities are provided with a couple of 1RU form-factor driven differences. 
  • The system provides the same 144 GByte memory capacity as the 2RU systems.
  • This model accomodates up to 95 Watt CPU's (the 2RU X4270 M2 accommodates up to the 130 Watt range CPUs).
  • 3 PCIe gen 2 expansion slots are provided within the 1RU form-factor.
  • Disk storage is available through 8 front mounted 2.5" SAS2/SATA disk bays, all capable of supporting a full complement of SSD's or HDD's.
  • An optional DVD+/- RW drive is provided on the front panel. 

Links to more information...

The Sun Fire X2270 M2
Updating the earlier Sun fire X2270 platform, the system has been refreshed to incorporate one or two Intel Xeon Processor 5600 Series CPUs, up to 4 x high capacity (up to 2TB) conventional SATA disk drives.
The platform removes PSU or Fan redundancy due to its expected position in the lower cost, higher volume space, being utilized in technical computing type applications that are heavily horizontally scaled across many identical high performance servers, a single server failure having only a small impact on overall application throughput.

Links to further information...

Lets look at the Blade server and infrastructure updates

Oracle has revisited the Sun Blade 6000 chassis and provided several updates that cover, compute, storage and networking aspects of the Blade products and provide improved performance and capability in all respects.

The Sun Blade X6270 M2 Compute Module
In line with the rack mount servers, this Blade is an update to the older Sun Blade X6270, now incorporating the latest 2 socket capable Intel Xeon Processor 5600 Series CPUs, ta
king advantage of the excellent cooling capacity of the Sun Blade 6000 chassis allows the fastest 130 Watt models of the 5600 series processors to be accommodated in this blade, providing great compute density and efficiency.
  • Memory capacity is unchanged, with up to 18 DIMMs giving 144GBytes using todays 8GB DIMMs
  • The disk IO subsystem is revised to allow for SAS-2 storage devices within the blade (up to 4 SAS2 2.5" disks on the front panel).
  • New RAID Expansion Modules are being introduced providing options for SAS-2 storage devices capable or RAID using the internal disks and also capable of accessing many more disks provided by the new Sun Storage Module M2 (see later in this blog update for more info).
These blades provide the quickest way to deploy IT infrastructure applications and services. Combined with the hot-plug/swap capability provided by the Network Express Module and PCIe ExpressModule expansion IO capability, very high RAS capability together with cable aggregation and manageability, customers are presented with a very compelling package of performance, capability, capacity and TCO benefits.

Check the links here for more information...

The Sun Blade Storage Module M2
Sun has revisited the existing Sun Blade Storage Module and introduces many new features and provides a path to future storage innovations.
The new M2 Storage Module provides 8 x SAS2 2.5" disk bays. The module is fully SAS-2 capable, with dual paths to all storage device slots. SAS-2 technology allows extremely effective mapping of the modules storage devices to any of the SAS-2 equipped compute blades in the Sun Blade 6000 chassis. 
Mapping of disks(targets) to blades(initiators) is carried out through the Chassis Monitoring Module (ILOM) interface by a new WEB GUI or a CLI. The WEB GUI provides both a simple configuration GUI 'Wizard' as well as a full capability GUI mode.

For more information please check the following links...
The Sun Blade 6000 Virtualised Multi-fabric 10GbE M2 NEM
The virtualised 10GbE NEM has been upgraded to provide the same virtualised 10GbE PCIe NICs to each blade in a Sun Blade 6000 chassis with a few new network features such as a "private mode" allowing up to 10GbE traffic to pass between blades within a chassis and isolate that traffic from any external network, an ideal way to provide a secure, high bandwidth fabric to a chassis full of blades in a very cost-effective manner. In the existing 'performance mode' and 'bandwidth mode', up to 20 Gbps of etherent bandwidth can be supplied to a single blade using two NEMs, and a minimum of 1Gbps is always available. Blades share access to one or two 10GbE Uplinks (via SFP+ connectors) from each NEM. 
In addition to the enhancements to the 10GbE, the NEM also provides a SAS-2 storage fabric expander, which allows fully flexible mapping of storage devices supplied by the Sun Blade Storage Module M2 to any SAS-2 equipped blade in the chassis. SAS mapping is accessed via a WEB GUI or CLI integrated into the Chassis Management Module (CMM) ILOM. 

Please check these links for more information ...

The Sun Blade 6000 Ethernet Switch NEM 24p 10GbE
OPUS NEMsmall300.gif
Oracle introduces a full featured, 10GbE switch into the Sun Blade 6000 chassis, providing...
  • 24 ports of 10GbE switching capacity
  • Cut-thru switching capability for the lowest possible latency (as low as 300ns)
  • Non-blocking switch fabric, allowing all ports to operate without bandwidth limitations
  • Full L2/L3 switch capabilities and features
  • An industry standard compatible configuration CLI, the Sun Ethernet Fabric Operating System (SEFOS)
  • 4-to-1 cable aggregation, with the introduction of 3 Quad SFP(QSFP) ports, combining 4 x SFP+ ports into a single space efficient QSFP form-factor (QSFP to QSFP and QSFP to 4 x SFP+ cables are available)
  • 2 x SFP+ conventional 10GbE ports
  • A total of up to 280 Gbytes/sec of bi-directional uplink bandwidth is available to the blades 
In addition to the 10GbE switching capabilities, the NEM also provides the same SAS-2 Fabric Expansion capabilities provided by the VIrtualised 10GbE NEM (see above).  This allows the mapping of disks from any Sun Blade Storage Module M2 to be flexibly assigned to any SAS-2 equipped compute blade in the chassis.

For more information, please visit this link...

In summary

Oracle has achieved a significant milestone in updating its full portfolio of x86 Servers, blades and network infrastructure. Providing customers with the latest compute, storage and networking capabilities in some of the most flexible, performant and efficient platforms available, helping improve reliability, service capacity and at the same time reduce TCO for the datacenter.

Please check back regularly as new features and capabilities will be introduced throughout the life of these products...


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