Christmas has come early this year if you are a server geek!
One of the big advantages of “blade” servers is investment protection – that is; the ability to incrementally add new technology to your existing chassis or rack, without having to rip-and-replace.
Today, Hitachi Data Systems delivers on that promise yet again with another introduction of updates, new products and features to our Compute Blade server family.
So what’s new?
For Compute Blade 500:
New CB520Hv2 Compute Blade – This is the updated version of the CB520 blade powered by the new Intel E5-2600v2 processor. The new CPU boosts the core count per socket by 50% - that’s 24 cores per blade - and allows faster memory to be used. At the same time it reduces power consumption and adds one or two new features including something called APICv – this might sound a little esoteric but if you use Hitachi’s logical partition (LPAR) feature, it means a significant boost in IO performance. This feature was actually implemented by Intel thanks to their close relationship with Hitachi engineers who suggested and developed the idea.
PCI Expansion Blade – This new expansion blade narrows the gap between the bigger CB2000 and its more compact cousin the CB500. Now (just like on the CB2000) you can combine both integrated, shared network switches along with PCI cards and HBAs. (This is what we call “Hybrid IO”). The new expansion blade pairs with a CB520H or CB520Hv2 compute blade – connected alongside it in the adjacent blade slot to add up to 6 PCIe slots.
So what can you do with this new toy?
nVidia GRID K2 support! Now, for the first time you can support a powerful shared GPGPU for Virtual Desktop applications (VDI). The GRID K2 is the first to be qualified and supports high end graphical applications on remote desktops.
PCI flash acceleration – Fusion IO’s line of IO Drive II cards put powerful flash technology right in the server and complements our storage flash to accelerate many applications such as Oracle database or SAP. These cards have been available from HDS for some time, but the huge bandwidth of the PCIe Expansion Blade (40 PCI lanes!) means that you will get full performance from multiple cards.
Other standard PCIe cards can also be supported, of course, and the expansion blade is configurable to support different combinations of full height and low profile cards.
USB boot! A small thing (literally) is the newly available kit that allows CB500 compute blades to add an internal option to boot from a USB stick. Most operating systems are supported so if that’s something that you’ve always wanted, well, like I say – it’s nearly Christmas! (…or other festive gift-giving celebration of your choice.)
For the CB2000:
New AX55R4 Blade. Not to be left out, the CB2000 continues to be updated with the latest technology. In this case, it’s the new Intel E5-2600v2 processor. The new R4 blade offers 50% more cores over the R3 version (which will continue to be available for a while), and it’s also ready to support PCIe version 3 cards when they become available for CB2000 – something made possible by the CB2000’s flexible passive backplane design. Another example of smart investment protection!
Obviously all these new goodies will need to be taken under the wing of the Hitachi Compute System Manager (HCSM) system management software (fully integrated into Hitachi Command Suite, naturally), and the new version of HCSM (7.6) does exactly that, and adds a new twist. Some HCSM features are optional and require a separate license (we call them “plug-ins”). We think they are well worth it and we want more people to give them a try, so new systems will now come with a free 120 day trial for ALL HCSM plug-ins - and when you see how good they are we hope you will save some money by taking advantage of our “Efficiency Pack” bundle (again, a new feature of this release).
If all that weren’t enough, there’s one more thing left at the bottom of your early Christmas stocking – it may be easily overlooked, but it could save you a lot of time and make life easier. New systems now ship with a new Server Implementation and Monitoring Tool to make deployment of new Hitachi servers even faster and simpler than before. This simple GUI based tool will get you up and running quickly and save time by automating many basic functions and making troubleshooting any problems a breeze.
So there you are! I hope you enjoy your gifts from HDS and have a happy start to the festive season!