Today, IBM announced new models of the IBM Flex System x220 and x240 compute nodes that are optimized as Network Attached Storage (NAS) offerings.
The Flex System x220 and x240 are high-performance Intel Xeon processor-based servers that offer great performance as entry-level and mid-level NAS offerings. The x220 NAS-optimized model has two Intel Xeon E5-2420 processors and 8 GB of RAM and the x240 model has two Intel Xeon E5-2640 processors and 16 GB of RAM. Both models have the IBM Flex System Storage Expansion Node (SEN) attached as standard.
The two NAS offerings are listed in the following table.
||Compute Node RAID controller
||SEN RAID controller
||Available Disk bays
|Flex System x220
|2x Xeon E5-2420 6C 1.9GHz 15MB 1333MHz 95W
(Supports up to 384 GB)
||2x 2.5-inch hot-swap bays internal to the server
12x 2.5-inch hot-swap bays in the Storage Expansion Node
|Open bays (supports SAS, SATA and SSD)
||Two 1 GbE ports integrated on system board
|Flex System x240
|2x Xeon E5-2640 6C 2.5GHz 15MB 1333MHz 95W
(Supports up to 768 GB)
||Two 10 GbE ports integrated on system board
The compute node with the Storage Expansion Node attached looks like the following.
The Storage Expansion Node (SEN) is a locally attached storage enclosure that is directly attached to the compute node via a PCIe 3.0 x8 link. The SEN adds 12 hot-swap 2.5-inch drive bays managed by an integrated LSI SAS2208 6 Gbps RAID controller. Using 1 TB drives, you can supply another 12 TB of dedicated internal storage to the server. If you want a mix of HDDs and solid-state drives (SSDs) the SEN supports that too.
As you can see in the photo, the drives are accessed by opening the handle on the front of the Storage Expansion Node and sliding out the drive tray. Opening the drive tray can be done while it is operational, and with the appropriate RAID level employed, you can hot-swap a drive out in the event of a drive failure.
Drive modes supported are JBOD or RAID-0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60. RAID 6 and 60 are optional via Feature on Demand upgrades but the other RAID levels are standard.
These NAS models enable a simpler acquisition. The combination of the compute node and the storage node is certified with Windows Storage Server 2012 meaning that this configuration is an excellent foundation for a low cost NAS solution. These models do not include drives giving you maximum flexibility when it comes to selecting drives, either SAS or SATA disk drives or high-performance solid-state drives.
To learn more about the SEN, including architecture, a list of supported hard drives and upgrades, and more, see the Storage Expansion Node Product Guide from IBM Redbooks.
David Watts is an IBM Redbooks Project Leader. He writes books and papers on many areas related to IBM Flex System, IBM BladeCenter and IBM System x. Follow David on Twitter at @DavidAtRedbooks.