With about a month to go on the new year, and less than a month and a half until the new 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable (codenamed “Sapphire Rapids”) launch, Dell has a new scale-up server platform, dubbed the Dell S5000 series. As a quick note, this is not the Dell Networking S5000 series as we have reviewed products like the Dell S5248F-ON and S5148F-ON (and found the strange American MegatrAnds stickers in.) The S5000 series scales from 6 to 16 processors, but has perhaps an interesting feature: it is using 2019 era 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable “Cascade Lake” processors not the 2020 era 3rd Gen “Cooper Lake” or the 4th Gen “Sapphire Rapids” launching in a few days on 2023-01-10.
New Dell S5416 and Dell S5408 Servers Launched
There are two main configurations. The Dell S5408 is the smaller 9U solution. This 9U solution offers either 6 or 8-socket configurations. That means we can get up to 96 DDR4 memory slots and the solution offers Optane DCPMM support. We did a piece on the Glorious Complexity of Intel Optane DIMMs. Starting in 2023, we expect Intel to launch Optane with Sapphire Rapids, but that class of storage we expect to move to the CXL bus.
While Intel’s 3x UPI chips allow direct connections between each CPU in a 4x CPU configuration, Intel also supports a glue-less topology. Here are the common topologies for Skylake (1st Generation Intel Xeon Scalable) and Cascade Lake (2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable):
The Dell S5408 utilizes the Cascade Lake 2nd generation Xeon Scalable in the 8S configuration. One can also get up to 12 DDR4 slots per CPU, for 96 total in the 8S configuration. Dell supports up to 12TB of RAM or 18TB when Optane DCPMM is added.
To go bigger, the larger configuration is the Dell S5416 with up to 24TB of RAM support Interestingly there is no DCPMM on these offerings. This is a 21U configuration scaling up to 16 sockets. It utilizes the eXternal Node Controller (XNC) technology to build a larger topology. Something that is quite interesting here is that Dell is not using the 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable “Cooper Lake” parts with higher memory speeds, bfloat16 support, and also twice the number of processor-to-processor UPI links.
The 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable is likely going to have a longer support cycle as Cooper Lake was largely made for Facebook/ Meta. Still, that is a better 4-socket and 8-socket solution. We are not yet allowed to discuss more than that Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids to Scale to 4 and 8 Sockets for chips launching in a few weeks.
For the configurations, here are the supported configurations from Dell:
This is the type of market where having proper hardware/ software configurations and support is extremely important as often these are extremely high-value systems for the organizations that run them.
The solution is not a general-purpose server. This is Dell’s scale-up solution for SAP HANA TDI. It is quite interesting that Dell is launching this so close to when it can get 2x the cores and more memory capacity and >2x bandwidth with Sapphire Rapids. We have already looked at a 8x Sapphire Rapids system that you may see briefly at the launch on STH, so they are coming, and soon.
One thing to keep in mind is that although the ~2 generation newer processors and platforms are launching in this space in the next month, this is a generally slow-moving market because of the cost of these systems and the engineering, validation, and certification work that happens before they can be used.
It is always fun to see these large x86 systems so we figured we would cover this one.