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We’ve just introduced the new IBM System x3850 X6, the sixth generation enterprise server from IBM. The x3850 X6 (see photo below) is a high performance 4-socket x86 server suitable for mission-critical applications.
The new IBM System x3850 X6 four-socket server,
shown with integrated lift handles that make it easy to install
In my previous post, I introduced a couple of innovative features that explain why this new server is among the fastest in the industry (perhaps the fastest… watch for the benchmark results coming soon!).
In this blog post, I’ll cover another area where IBM provides unique features that make a difference: agility. I’ll explain how the server can be expanded when business needs require more IT resources – a significant plus in today’s volatile business climate.
Why does agility matter? The answer is simple: investment protection. You want to buy IT equipment that can be expanded as your business grows or as your need to process more data increases.
The IBM X6 server offer pay-as-you-grow scalability. The System x3850 X6 server features a modular design that includes so-called books for each of the three subsystems (I/O, storage, and compute). The photo below shows the Compute Book. Front and rear access means that you can easily add and remove the various components without removing the server from the rack – a revolutionary concept in rack servers. You add components as you need them, and some components, such as storage and I/O adapters, are hot-swappable, so you don’t need to power off the server to add them.
One of up to four Compute Books in the System x3850 X6
(memory DIMMs are visible through the clear side window)
I mentioned there are books for each of the three subsystems:
Compute Books: Each Compute Book contains one processor and 24 DIMM slots. It is accessible from the front of the server. The x3850 X6 has up to 4 Compute Books.
Storage Books: The Storage Book (see photo below) contains standard 2.5-inch drives or IBM eXFlash 1.8-inch solid-state drives. It also provides front USB and video ports, and has two PCIe slots for internal storage adapters. The Storage Book is accessible from the front of the server.
I/O Books: The I/O Book is a container that provides PCIe expansion capabilities. I/O Books are accessible from the rear of the server.
The Storage Book contains two slots for RAID adapters plus
either eight 2.5-inch drives or 16 1.8-inch eXFlash solid-state drives
There are three types of I/O Books:
Primary I/O Book. This Book provides core I/O connectivity, including a dedicated mezzanine LOM (ML) slot for an onboard network, three PCIe slots, an Integrated Management Module II, and four rear ports (USB, video, serial, and management).
Full-length I/O Book. This hot-swappable Book provides three full-length PCIe slots. This book supports a co-processor or GPU adapter up to 300W if needed.
Half-length I/O Book. This hot-swappable Book provides three half-length PCIe slots.
The photo below shows the I/O Books at the rear of the server.
Rear view of the x3850 X6 with two Half-length I/O Books plus the Primary I/O Book,
a total of 9 PCIe 3.0 slots plus the mezzanine LOM (ML) slot
All these features mean that the x3850 X6 offers excellent upgradability and investment protection – just what a business needs!
In summary, the x3850 X6 scales up to these maximums:
96 DIMM sockets (24 per processor)
16 1.8-inch solid state drive bays or 8 2.5-inch drive bays
12 PCIe slots including two dedicated internal storage adapter slots and one dedicated network adapter slot
4 power supplies
4U rack mount server
The x3950 X6 is the 8U big brother of the 4U x3850 X6 and doubles each of the above-stated maximums. I’ll talk more about the x3950 X6 in a future blog post.
In my next blog post, I’ll explain how these new servers are resilient by offering best of breed reliability, availability and serviceability.
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.