A new analyst paper from Moor Insights and Strategy focuses on Scale Up Applications driving the need for 8 socket x86 servers is now available.
The importance of scale up applications is growing. Applications and data streams are becoming more complex, requiring additional processing power and larger memory footprints for these scale up applications. Many workloads, like business intelligence, analytics, ERP, and CRM currently require a larger single instance footprint and do not lend themselves to a scale out environment.
In virtualization and cloud environments, the desire to reduce cost-per-VM is driving businesses toward pooling more instances on fewer large and robust physical hosts. By scaling up consolidation, businesses are able to drive better ROI.
For years, proprietary platforms were the only choice for highly scalable enterprise applications. RISC proprietary systems have seen a slow, gradual decline as x86 has taken over more of the market. x86 platforms have become faster, more scalable, and more reliable—which is why most applications in the datacenter are running on these platforms today. However, for the most scalable applications, only the latest Intel Xeon E7-8800/4800 v2 series processors deliver both the horsepower and the highest level of reliability required.
Highly scalable applications require larger CPU, memory, and I/O configurations along with additional RAS and serviceability features that boost uptime. This is where systems like the IBM x3950 X6 help deliver the capabilities of a more expensive proprietary system.
The IBM x3950 X6 is designed as a full 8 CPU system with a modular capability that allows a business to purchase the right amount of performance and scalability up front, and then easily add more capacity in a modular fashion when applications require additional scalability.
The system is built around a flexible chassis that has slots for 8 Compute Books. Each Compute Book is a self-contained module holding an Intel Xeon E7 CPU and the associated memory, allowing the system to scale up evenly as CPU demands increase. In addition to the Compute Books, the system also features two Storage Books to handle up to 16 hot-swap hard drives or 32 SSDs. Equally important are the 6 I/O Books (2 standard), allowing for the expansion of up to 18 PCIe I/O cards plus 2 additional Mezzanine cards.
The flexibility of the x3950 X6 is demonstrated through the IBM FlexNode capability which allows an 8 CPU system to be partitioned into two 4 socket servers. This partitioning gives businesses a more flexible way to deploy servers. With FlexNode, a single chassis can be split, allowing for 2 clustered 4 socket servers to be deployed. This flexibility reduces capital cost and physical management costs, because there are fewer physical assets to manage.
Contrary to most existing x86 systems that are deployed and then never touched again, the IBM x3950 X6 is designed to be updated. It is more like the experience that businesses have with scalable RISC/UNIX systems—without the price premium. The IBM x3950 X6 begins with a strong set of RAS features integrated into the system as part of the Intel Run Sure technology. IBM then builds onto those capabilities with additional RAS features designed to enhance uptime even more.
This x3950 X6 is a viable choice that has the economics and innovation of commodity x86 servers combined with the scalability, performance, and RAS of proprietary systems. Businesses who are investigating platforms for their scalable applications need to investigate the IBM x3950 X6.
Moor Insights & Strategy Paper Click on "Analyst Reports" on right hand side
The IBM x3950 X6 – Further Details
IBM x3950 X6 Product Details
IBM x3950 X6 Browse and Buy
The X6 – Book Design
Randall Lundin is a World Wide Product and Marketing Manager for IBM System x. He manages the Enterprise 4 & 8 socket rack systems. Follow Randall on Twitter at @RWLUNDIN or view Randall's LinkedIn profile.