ASRock Rack 3U16N spotted – 16 node 3U chassis with high-end networking

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ASRock Rack 3U16N at Computex 2016
ASRock Rack 3U16N at Computex 2016

ASRock Rack is moving toward even denser servers as it grows. One item we saw at Computex 2016 is the ASRock Rack 3U16N launched this week.This is the company’s first product for greater than 4 nodes in 2U density that we have seen.

The ASRock Rack 3U16N has 16 nodes mounted on separate cards in the 3U chassis. Each of the nodes has an Intel Xeon D-1541 processor along with a list of storage options.

ASRock Rack 3U16N_R
ASRock Rack 3U16N_R

Each node has front I/O for USB 3.0 and networking.

ASRock Rack 3U16N_R - front and rear
ASRock Rack 3U16N_R – front and rear

The rear of the unit is especially interesting. There are four redundant power supplies along with four large cards. Each one of these cards is a 50GbE multi-host adapter by Mellanox. Normally there are two types of networking in this style of chassis: independent nodes without a switch or chassis switch based networking. The ASRock Rack 3U16N has the ability to operate as completely independent nodes using 32x 10GbE uplinks. Alternatively, with the Mellanox 50GbE multi-host adapters one can use four 50GbE cables as uplinks. These multi-host adapters are popular with Xeon D designs at hyper-scale players such as Facebook in their Xeon D designs.

Here is a view of the unit running at Computex

ASRock Rack 3U16N at Computex 2016
ASRock Rack 3U16N at Computex 2016

We were at least a bit shocked at how quiet this system is at idle. It was hard to hear anything on the show floor but multi-node chassis such as our HPE Moonshot would likely still be deafening on the show floor. From what we understand, ASRock Rack intends for this to be a customizable system by those who order so it can have different Xeon D CPUs as an exampleof the options available.

We are seeing more emphasis by vendors on multi-node chassis for these lower power Xeon D systems and the ASRock Rack 3U16N certainly supports this trend with a unique twist on its architecture.

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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

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