It’s been a while since I’ve posted what rumours I’m hearing, so I thought I’d dig around and see what I can find out. NOTE: this is purely speculation, I have no definitive information from any vendor about any of this information so this may be false info. Read at your own risk. Continue reading
Intel officially announced today the Xeon 5600 processor, code named “Westmere.” Cisco, HP and IBM also announced their blade servers that have the new processor. The Intel Xeon 5600 offers:
- 32nm process technology with 50% more threads and cache
- Improved energy efficiency with support for 1.35V low power memory
There will be 4 core and 6 core offerings. This processor also provide the option of HyperThreading, so you could have up to 8 threads and 12 threads per processor, or 16 and 24 in a dual CPU system. This will be a huge advantage to applications that like multiple threads, like virtualization. Here’s a look at what each vendor has come out with:
The B200 M2 provides Cisco users with the current Xeon 5600 processors. It looks like Cisco will be offering a choice of the following Xeon 5600 processors: Intel Xeon X5670, X5650, E5640, E5620, L5640, or E5506. Because Cisco’s model is a “built-to-order” design, I can’t really provide any part numbers, but knowing what speeds they have should help.
HP is starting off with the Intel Xeon 5600 by bumping their existing G6 models to include the Xeon 5600 processor. The look, feel, and options of the blade servers will remain the same – the only difference will be the new processor. According to HP, “the HP ProLiant G6 platform, based on Intel Xeon 5600 processors, includes the HP ProLiant BL280c, BL2x220c, BL460c and BL490c server blades and HP ProLiant WS460c G6 workstation blade for organizations requiring high density and performance in a compact form factor. The latest HP ProLiant G6 platforms will be available worldwide on March 29.” It appears that HP’s waiting until March 29 to provide details on their Westmere blade offerings, so don’t go looking for part numbers or pricing on their website.
IBM is continuing to stay ahead of the game with details about their product offerings. They’ve refreshed their HS22 and HS22v blade servers:
7870G4U – HS22, Xeon 4C E5640 80W 2.66GHz/1066MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 2.5in SAS
7870GCU – HS22, Xeon 4C E5640 80W 2.66GHz/1066MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 2.5in SAS, Broadcom 10Gb Gen2 2-port
7870H2U -HS22, Xeon 6C X5650 95W 2.66GHz/1333MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 2.5in SAS
7870H4U – HS22, Xeon 6C X5670 95W 2.93GHz/1333MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 2.5in SAS
7870H5U – HS22, Xeon 4C X5667 95W 3.06GHz/1333MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 2.5in SAS
7870HAU – HS22, Xeon 6C X5650 95W 2.66GHz/1333MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 2.5in SAS, Emulex Virtual Fabric Adapter
7870N2U – HS22, Xeon 6C L5640 60W 2.26GHz/1333MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 2.5in SAS
7870EGU – Express HS22, 2x Xeon 4C E5630 80W 2.53GHz/1066MHz/12MB, 6x2GB, O/Bay 2.5in SAS
7871G4U – HS22V, Xeon 4C E5640 80W 2.66GHz/1066MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 1.8in SAS
7871GDU – HS22V, Xeon 4C E5640 80W 2.66GHz/1066MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 1.8in SAS
7871H4U – HS22V, Xeon 6C X5670 95W 2.93GHz/1333MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 1.8in SAS
7871H5U – HS22V, Xeon 4C X5667 95W 3.06GHz/1333MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 1.8in SAS
7871HAU – HS22V, Xeon 6C X5650 95W 2.66GHz/1333MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 1.8in SAS
7871N2U – HS22V, Xeon 6C L5640 60W 2.26GHz/1333MHz/12MB, 3x2GB, O/Bay 1.8in SAS
7871EGU – Express HS22V, 2x Xeon 4C E5640 80W 2.66GHz/1066MHz/12MB, 6x2GB, O/Bay 1.8in SAS
7871EHU – Express HS22V, 2x Xeon 6C X5660 95W 2.80GHz/1333MHz/12MB, 6x4GB, O/Bay 1.8in SAS
I could not find any information on what Dell will be offering, from a blade server perspective, so if you have information (that is not confidential) feel free send it my way.
IBM officially announced today a new addition to their blade server line – the HS22v. Modeled after the HS22 blade server, the HS22v is touted by IBM as a “high density, high performance blade optimized for virtualization.” So what makes it so great for virtualization? Let’s take a look.
One of the big differences between the HS22v and the HS22 is more memory slots. The HS22v comes with 18 x very low profile (VLP) DDR3 memory DIMMs for a maximum of 144GB RAM. This is a key attribute for a server running virtualization since everyone knows that VM’s love memory. It is important to note, though, the memory will only run at 800Mhz when all 18 slots are used. In comparison, if you only had 6 memory DIMMs installed (3 per processor) then the memory would run at 1333Mhz and 12 DIMMs installed (6 per processor) runs at 1066Mhz. As a final note on the memory, this server will be able to use both 1.5v and 1.35v memory. The 1.35v will be newer memory that is introduced as the Intel Westmere EP processor becomes available. The big deal about this is that lower voltage memory = lower overall power requirements.
The second big difference is the HS22v does not use hot-swap drives like the HS22 does. Instead, it uses a 2 x solid state drives (SSD) for local storage. These drives have hardware RAID 0/1 capabilities standard. Although the picture to the right shows a 64GB SSD drive, my understanding is that only 50GB drives will be available as they start to become readlily available on March 19, with larger sizes (64GB and 128GB) becoming available in the near future. Another thing to note is that the image shows a single SSD drive, however the 2nd drive is located directly beneath. As mentioned above, these drives do have the ability to be set up in a RAID 0 or 1 as needed.
So – why did IBM go back to using internal drives? For a few reasons:
Reason #1 : in order to get the space to add the extra memory slots, a change had to be made in the design. IBM decided that solid state drives were the best fit.
Reason #2: the SSD design allows the server to run with lower power. It’s well known that SSD drives run at a much lower power draw than physical spinning disks, so using SSD’s will help the HS22v be a more power efficient blade server than the HS22.
Reason #3: a common trend of virtualization hosts, especially VMware ESXi, is to run on integrated USB devices. By using an integrated USB key for your virtualization software, you can eliminate the need for spinning disks, or even SSD’s therefore reducing your overall cost of the server.
So here’s the sticky area. IBM will be releasing the HS22v with the Intel Xeon 5500 processor first. Later in March, as the Intel Westmere EP (Intel Xeon 5600) is announced, IBM will have models that come with it. IBM will have both Xeon 5500 and Xeon 5600 processor offerings. Why is this? I think for a couple of reasons:
a) the Xeon 5500 and the Xeon 5600 will use the same chipset (motherboard) so it will be easy for IBM to make one server board, and plop in either the Nehalem EP or the Westmere EP
b) simple – IBM wants to get this product into the marketplace sooner than later.
1) Will it fit into the BladeCenter E?
YES – however there may be certain limitations, so I’d recommend you reference the IBM BladeCenter Interoperability Guide for details.
2) Is it certified to run VMware ESX 4?
3) Why didn’t IBM call it HS22XM?
According to IBM, the “XM” name is feature focused while “V” is workload focused – a marketing strategy we’ll probably see more of from IBM in the future.
That’s it for now. If there are any questions you have about the HS22v, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to get some answers.
For more on the IBM HS22v, check out IBM’s web site here.
Check back with me in a few weeks when I’m able to give some more info on what’s coming from IBM!