The IBM System x3850 X5 is our flagship server in the x86 portfolio, offering industry-leading performance in transactional processing.
You’re in the market for an enterprise database engine, but you’re unsure how much performance you’ll need? With the x3850 X5, you can start small but scale big. The x3850 X5 is a versatile 4-socket, 4U rack-optimized server that can hold up to 2 TB of memory.
But did you know it can scale bigger than that? Here’s a hint how: think outside the box. First let’s look inside the x3850 X5.
Looking inside the x3850 X5, you can see the server has space for four processors. You can start with two processors. Each processor is an enterprise-class Intel Xeon E7 processor. Depending on the configuration, each processor can be 10 cores, so with Hyper-Threading Technology, that’s 20 cores per processor or 80 cores total.
The design of the memory subsystem is based on memory cards, 8 total, which each have 8 DIMM sockets. Most standard models start with four 4GB DIMMs and two memory cards, but you can have up to 64 DIMMs installed in the server. Using 32GB DIMMs, that means the server can have up to 2 TB of memory.
Each memory card also has two components called scalable memory buffers. These devices mean that the memory subsystem can still operate at the rated 1066 MHz memory speed even when fully loaded with 64 DIMMs. This is a critical aspect of memory performance with this much installed RAM.
The x3850 X5 has seven PCIe 2.0 slots. Five of them are x8 width electrically for uses such as 10 Gb Ethernet cards. Most models include an Emulex 10 GbE card as standard. The other two slots are a x4 and a x16 slots.
The x3850 X5 also has space for eight 2.5-inch SAS drives or for high-performance applications, you can install 16 solid-state drives. That combined with 16 Gb Fibre Channel host bus adapters to a SAN means access to the storage you need where you need it.
MAX5 means more memory
2 TB of memory is what you need for enterprise databases or SAP HANA in-memory applications, but the x3850 X5 offers you more with the addition of the MAX5 memory expansion unit.
MAX5 is an IBM design and is exclusive to high-performance systems from IBM. This 1U device connects to the server via four high-speed QPI cables directly to the processors. It has an additional 32 DIMM sockets with scalable memory buffers.
With the MAX5 attached, you now have 96 DIMM sockets available, and with 32 GB DIMMs, that’s 3 TB of direct access high-performance memory all operating at 1066 MHz memory speeds.
Think of a number. Now double it.
If you have an enterprise database and you need the most processing power and memory capacity possible, the x3850 X5 is what you’re looking for. Using IBM EXA cables, you can connect two x3850 X5 servers and two MAX5 memory expansion units together, to form a single massive compute complex:
8 Intel Xeon E7 processors
80 cores supporting 160 concurrent threads
6 TB of RAM running at 1066 MHz
16 PCIe 2.0 slots
32 solid-state drives
These are two of the same servers that you started with 2 processors and just 16 GB of RAM. This is the sort of scalability that really grows with your business.
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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.