If you are looking for a business-critical x86 tower server to run infrastructure or virtualization applications, then consider the IBM System x3500 M4.
The x3500 M4 can be used for SAP applications, cloud computing, virtual desktop, business analytics, data management/storage, or even as a retail point of sale controller and server.
Here are 5 things to know about this high capacity server:
1. The x3500 M4 is a great platform for database and analytic applications
If you’re going to do work with a lot of data, you’re going to need a lot of processing power and local storage, and the x3500 M4 has both! With one or two Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 processors installed, it offers superior system performance with 12 cores per processors, with core speeds up to 3.3 GHz, and support for up to 768 GB of memory. The system achieves outstanding processor performance for compute-intensive applications as evidenced by the SPEC CPU2006 benchmark result.
2. Available as a tower or a rack server
The x3500 M4 is normally a tower model but can also be converted to be used in a standard 19-inch rack. This means that if you want to use this server under a desk, you can, but if you want to later install it in a rack, you can do that too. The design is really flexible.
3. Large number of drive bays means flexibility and capacity
A database server or analytics server needs lots of local storage and the x3500 M4 delivers! As you can see in the photo below, the server supports 32 hot-swap 2.5-inch drive bays. Alternatively, the server can be configured to hold 8 3.5-inch drive bays. So depending on the type of drive you need – high performance SSD, or lower cost NL SAS/SATA, you’ll have plenty of local disk space – 51TB if you use high-performance SSDs, or 32TB if you use NL SAS or NL SATA drives.
A variety of drive types are supported including SAS, NL SAS, NL SATA and solid-state drives. The server even supports the new SAS-SSD hybrid drive.
In addition, the x3500 M4 has two 5.25-inch bays for an optical drive and a tape drive if you need a local DVD drive or you need local backup capability. Plenty of flexibility.
4. Impressive I/O expansion capability – Network, storage, GPUs – you name it!
Does your application require multiple 10Gb Ethernet ports? Or you plan to use High IOPS SSD adapters with IBM FlashCache Storage Accelerator to optimize your disk throughput? Or perhaps you need redundant paths to your Fibre Channel SAN. Or you’re planning to use the x3500 M4 in your render farm and you need GPUs?
In addition to the large storage capacity, the x3500 M4 has 8 PCIe slots to maximize your I/O connectivity options. One slot can be converted to a PCI-X slot your application requires a specialized adapter only available in that form factor.
For example, you can install 8 dual-port 10 Gb Ethernet adapters. If you elect to use Virtual Fabric Adapters, then each port can be virtualized to 4 virtual ports each. That means a massive 64 network ports can be made available to the installed operating system, an ideal situation for virtualization.
A full range of adapters are supported:
1 Gb and 10 Gb Ethernet adapters
4, 8, and 16 Gb Fibre Channel adapters
PCIe SSD adapters
NVIDIA GPU adapters
5. Comprehensive Systems Management with the IMM2
The x3500 M4 server contains IBM Integrated Management Module II (IMM2), which provides advanced service-processor control, monitoring, and an alerting function. If an environmental condition exceeds a threshold or if a system component fails, the IMM2 activates LEDs to help you diagnose the problem, records the error in the event log, and alerts you to the problem.
Optionally, you can upgrade the IMM2 to provide a virtual presence & remote control capability for remote server management capabilities. This includes remote mapping of a drive or ISO image from your local laptop to the target server – very handy if you’re doing a remote OS or application install.
When you have a room full of servers to manage or your servers are in a remote location, there’s nothing better than being able to remotely access them all from one place.
For more information on the IBM System x3500 M4, see the IBM Redbooks Product Guide.
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.