Looking for a four-socket server but concerned that your disk I/O can’t keep up? Consider the new IBM Flex System x440 with solid-state drives. The x440 is a powerful four-socket Intel Xeon-based compute node that installs in the IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis and is part of the IBM PureFlex solutions.
The Flex System x440 is a powerful system with up to four Intel Xeon E5-4600 “EP” processors each up to eight cores at 2.7 GHz, and 1.5 TB of RAM if you fully populate it with 32 GB DIMMs. And with four I/O adapter sockets, there’s enough I/O for 16 physical NIC connections, each 10 GbE. In vNIC mode, each 10GbE physical port can be carved up into four vNICs for a total of 64 vNICs.
If you look at the front of the server (the first photo above), you’ll see there’s two hot-swap drive bays. But what if you need more local high-speed storage like wicked-fast solid-state drives?
Introducing the ServeRAID M5115 RAID controller and eight internal solid-state drives (SSDs).
You replace the two front 2.5-inch drive bays with four 1.8-inch SSD bays (two each), and the other four SSDs are mounted on special air baffles that sit on top of some of the memory DIMMs. The diagram below show where the eight drives go plus where the ServeRAID controller goes.
The combination of the x440 with the ServeRAID M5115 is ideal for someone who wants to deploy a database engine that requires fast access time (i.e. low latency). Having the SSD drives reside inside the server gives you really fast local access to your hot data.
But you might be thinking that by installing the ServeRAID M5115 controller in one of the I/O slots, you lose some of your I/O capability. Well, if you’re using one of the x440 models with the twin onboard 10 GbE, then you don’t lose networking capacity – those ports are still routed to the I/O bays in the chassis.
If you don’t want all SSDs, you can mix and match. You can keep the two front bays for 2.5-inch SAS disk drives (up to 1 TB each) and have four internal SSDs mounted on the air baffles. If you combine those drives with the SSD Caching Enabler feature (also known as LSI MegaRAID CacheCade Pro 2.0), you can one of the SSDs as a cache for the SAS drives, thereby improving the overall price-performance of the system.
So with the x440, you have 4 eight-core processors, 1.5 TB RAM, 16x 10Gb Ethernet ports, and 8 high-performance SSDs – plus the convenience and expandability of the IBM Flex System ecosystem.
Read more about the x440 in the IBM Redbooks Product Guide.
David Watts is an IBM Redbooks Project Leader. He write books and papers on many areas related to IBM Flex System, IBM BladeCenter and IBM System x. Follow David on Twitter at @DavidAtRedbooks.