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back to article Sun double teams Xeon chip

No server vendor worth its hot swappable fans will let an Intel Developer Forum go by without announcing some new kit. So here's Sun Microsystems doing its part for the epic Intel ecosystem with a pair of new servers. The Sun Fire X2250 and X4250 machines are your go-to units for a wide variety of jobs, including hardcore stuff …

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Happy

ZFS + MySQL + VirtualBox + OpenSolaris?

Plus some flash Xeon kit... that looks like a pretty unstoppable lineup.

What are they going to charge for it ? Probably $100,000/cpu, something ridiculous.

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Boffin

Hope it has better quality than those T5240 boxes

Sun keeps cramming too many parts into too small of a space without proper air flow. Not to mention you want some components to get the cold air first. The servers keep failing because of the thermal density. I would much rather have a 2U or 4U with reliability.

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That's nice, but..

...were the PrimeServer (I think that's the right name, but am not sure) guys there? I heard they were going to have a whisper suite at the show....perhaps going to preview their plans for their new HPC boxes. This is all rumor, but I heard triple and five core chips choices in 3, 5, 7, or 13U chassis...at a price that should be very competitive

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IT Angle

to General Taso - Pricing starts at $1,495

General Taso asks, "What are they going to charge for it ? Probably $100,000/cpu..."

Your estimate is three orders of magnitude from reality.

The article states, "The thin boy starts at $1,495, while the tubbier guy comes in at $3,195"

SUN is usually a price/performance leader against the major market competitors, and where they are not a price/performance leader, they are either Performance or Price leaders... for the market that they are targeting.

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to Anonymous Coward - SUN 5240: Cooling: Read The Manuals

An Anonymous Coward says, "Not to mention you want some components to get the cold air first. The servers keep failing because of the thermal density. I would much rather have a 2U or 4U with reliability"

SUN sticks hundreds of these things in shipping containers in very harsh areas with air cooling - the pricing on the platform with maintenance would be much higher if this was an engineering problem.

Providing cold air to the racks is the responsibility of the person deploying the equipment.

Before loading racks full of equipment, it is very important to Read The Manuals.

http://docs.sun.com/source/820-3314-10/siteprep.html

"The operating environment re quirements are the same for both the Sun SPARC Enterprise T5140 and T5240 servers. Your environmental control system must provide intake air for the servers that complies with the limits specified in Environmental Specifications."

"To avoid overheating, do not direct warmed air:"

" * Toward the front air intake of the server"

" * Toward the server access panels "

More details on Environmental Control System specifications.

http://docs.sun.com/source/820-3314-10/siteprep.html#50413569_11642

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Go

The X2250 and X4250; SUN 6048 better for HPC Apps

I would not exactly call this article news - these boxes have been around awhile... available today with the Quad Core Intel CPU's and being shipped in 5 days.

The X2250 comes in a variety of off-the-shelf options.

http://shop.sun.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/Sun_NorthAmerica-Sun_Store_US-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewStandardCatalog-Browse?CategoryName=SF_X2250&CategoryDomainName=Sun_NorthAmerica-Sun_Store_US-SunCatalog

The X4250 also comes in a variety of off-the-shelf options.

http://shop.sun.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/Sun_NorthAmerica-Sun_Store_US-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewStandardCatalog-ShowAllProducts?CategoryName=SF_X4250&CategoryDomainName=Sun-SunCatalog

The X4250 is a nice little boxes- especially loaded with16 reliable 10K SAS drives.

http://shop.sun.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/Sun_NorthAmerica-Sun_Store_US-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewConfigurations-List?ProxyProductRefID=DUMMY1--SF_X4250@Sun_NorthAmerica-Sun_Store_US&CatalogCategoryID=RdpIBe.dnOgAAAEbTapIhsoZ&ShowAllProducts=true

The article says, "The Sun Fire X2250 and X4250 machines are your go-to units for a wide variety of jobs, including hardcore stuff like HPC"

The HPC Market will probably not be interested in these servers.

Real HPC users would request SUN to include pack the new Intel CPU in the 42U high 48 blade Sun Blade 6048 Chassis. The 6048 integrates well into the SUN Constellation - providing exceptional performance, superior cable reduction, fast modular assembly, and a better price point better with similar features than anyone else in the industry.

http://www.sun.com/servers/blades/6048chassis/index.xml

http://www.sun.com/products/networking/datacenter/ds3456/

http://www.sun.com/servers/hpc/sunconstellationsystem/index.jsp

HPC users would most likely tack in SUN's Open Source Lustre file system, since this is the file system used by most HPC clusters implemented globally.

http://www.sun.com/software/products/lustre/

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Anonymous Coward

Fast Processors, but Slow IO

While, these boxes have a good number of fast processors, all 8 cores need to contend for the same memory, making memory access slow.

If you compare this system to an Opteron box, the Opteron will have at least double the memory IO, since the memory bandwidth on the Opterons scales linearily with the number of CPU's. However on the intel's it stay static since their is only one memory controller.

Therefore these servers are likely to be useless for work such as databases and web servers.

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Punctuation, dear boy ...

Surely "Sun double-teams Xeon chip"

?

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Boffin

@Fast Processors, but Slow IO

Thats exactly what I see on my Mac Pro which uses the same 2 x 8-core Xeon cpu combo.

The memory is DDR2, which I'm not familiar with, so would be interested to know if the individual banks (ie pairs of dimms) have separate channels, or whether the entire memory array has only 2 channels...? (ie would it be worth fitting a number of smaller dimm pairs across the available banks, or is it more efficient to fit a single pair of bigger dimms to one bank?)

Mind you my machine is hobbled even further by one of the slowest raid cards in history (Gee, thanks Apple. Won't be buying your falsely specced candy again).

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Happy

[Off-Topic-ish] Xeon Bargains

All those reg readers with a hankering for a dual-core Xeon home server should mosey on over to:

http://uk.insight.com

They're flogging an HP ProLiant ML110 G5 - Micro tower - Dual-Core Xeon 3065 2.33GHz / 1Gb Ram / 250Gb HD. This, for the princely sum of £94.99 ex VAT. But wait, there's more: Three year's on-site warranty is included.

No connection to Insight, but my mate got one and it's a solid, well-built piece of kit with plenty of expansion possibility, I've just ordered one and at that price it's no surprise that they started the week with 700 in stock and they're down to under 400 today...

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to Anonymous Coward - Memory & RAID Clarifications

Anonymous Coward asks, "The memory is DDR2, which I'm not familiar with, so would be interested to know if the individual banks (ie pairs of dimms) have separate channels, or whether the entire memory array has only 2 channels...?"

There appears to be 2 channels per socket.

http://www.sun.com/servers/x64/x4250/specs.xml

"Up to 64 GB (16 x 4 GB) of PC2-5300 667 MHz ECC fully buffered DDR2 memory"

http://www.sun.com/servers/x64/x4250/server_architecture.pdf

"Using a Sun StorageTek SAS RAID Host Bus Adapter (HBA), internal SAS disk drives can be configured for RAID 0, 1, 1E, 10, 5, 5EE, 50, 6, and 60 —when mirroring is implemented, drives are also hot-swappable."

Of course, some of the specs double with the X4450 (i.e. 4 quad core processors in 2U high, oodles of drives, 128 Gig RAM), as noted in the above white paper. Intel has not traditionally made 4 CPU sockets scale very well, unfortunately.

"Multiple, independent Front Side Buses (FSBs) that act as high-bandwidth system

interconnects. The Intel Xeon 5000 Sequence processors support both 1066 MT/sec and 1333 MT/sec Front Side Buses enabling theoretical data transfer rates of 8.66 GB/sec (at 1066 MT/sec) or 10.5 GB/sec (at 1333 MT/sec). The 7000 Sequence supports Front Side Bus interconnects at 1066 MT/sec."

The diagram for the 5000 sequence Intel processors (used in the servers reviewed by this article) implemented by SUN indicates that there are actually 4 memory channels, two for each front side bus, each memory channel operating at half the bandwidth of the front side bus. You can see this on pages 15 & 18.

If there will be an I/O bandwidth problem, it will be at the Intel Front Side Bus level... and this would only be accentuated in the quad-processor quad-core platform, which will be released soon, due to the decreased speed of the Intel Front Side Bus in the 7000 sequence processors. You can see this on page 21.

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RE: Fast Processors, but Slow IO

In that case you'll be wanting to take a look at the x2200 and x4240, sun's quad core Opteron equivalents. Bloody nice machines!

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