Since it is officially the Intel Xeon E3-1200 V5 launch today, Supermicro has a plethora of platforms for the new E3-1200 V5 series. These include motherboards, 1U servers, tower servers, high-density MicroBlades and a new MicroCloud offering. We are not going to highlight every offering since Supermicro is selling more variations than the Dell, ASRock Rack and Gigabyte Skylake E3 offerings combined.
MicroBlade and MicroCloud
Supermicro recently announced that it is offering a 3U MicroBlade. The 3U MicroBlade is essentially the 6U MicroBlade with half as many nodes, power supplies and switches. The 3U MicroBlade has a total of 14 blades that each carry two Intel Xeon E3-1200 V5 servers with four DIMMs per server and up to two SSDs per server. That yields a total of 28 independent servers in 3U including Ethernet switching and the chassis management module.
Each MBI-6219G-T blade is an independent node. The MicroBlade platform increases efficiency by allowing the 28 nodes to share power and cooling. It also greatly reduces cabling requirements. We hope to get one in the new Sunnyvale Datacenter lab as it would make an awesome platform to do our shared hosting platform infrastructure reviews with. Here is a breakdown of the specs of each MicroBlade node:
Along with the 3U MicroBlade are the MicroCloud offerings. These are popular servers and offer high-density designs but without the internal switching. These MicroCloud servers are popular as several of the developer firms with racks near ours in Fremont, California datacenter are using MicroClouds to test their scale-out software.
One item did stand out: the 12 node SYS-5039MS-H12TRF comes with options for 2x 2.5″ NMVe drives per node. As far as we can tell this is one of the first implementations of dual 2.5″ NVMe drives in a 4 node per U design. This is very innovative as the market will start to transition to NVMe in a major way into 2016.
1U Rackmount and Tower Systems
There are a total of 9 1U rackmount and 3 tower systems released by Supermicro today. Of that large list, the majority of the offerings update previous generation models to the latest Greenlow platform. Two servers based on two different motherboards did stand out to us though: the SYS-5019S-MT and SYS-5019S-WR.
The SYS-5019S-MT is a 1U rackmount with 4x 3.5″ hot swap bays. Supermicro is including dual 10Gbase-T LAN based on the latest generation Intel X550 Ethernet controller released yesterday. The offerings from other vendors such as Dell that we have seen thus far use older generation add-on cards relying solely upon 1GbE for onboard networking. The SYS-5019S-WR has a total of three expansion slots (2x PCIe 3.0 x8 electrical and 1x PCIe 3.0 x4 electrical) in the 1U chassis. Typical systems have one or two expansion slots so with three this does addd to the flexibility of the system.
Excluding the -F and non-F (-F is the designation for IPMI onboard) there are about 14 new Intel Xeon E3 socket H4 (LGA1151) motherboards. We decided to focus on three mATX offerings: the X11SSL-CF, X11SSL-nF and X11SSH-TF/ X11SSH-CTF.
The X11SSL-CF has an integrated LSI 3008 SAS3 12gbps controller and uses the lower cost Intel C232 chipset. That gives the motherboard a total of 6x SATA III 6gbps ports and eight SAS3 12gbps ports. The other motherboard with the onboard LSI SAS 3008 is the X11SSH-CTF. Since that motherboard utilizes the C236 chipset it has 8x SATA III 6gbps ports along with the 8x 12gbps SAS3 ports for a total of 16. Like the X11SSH-TF (same model without the LSI controller) and the full 1U system SYS-5019S-MT mentioned above the motherboards utilize the new Intel X550 10Gbase-T controller for LAN ports.
The final motherboard we wanted to note is the X11SSL-nF. The lowercase “n” in the model name might refer to the fact it has two SFF-8643 connectors onboard for NVMe SSDs. These are not the desktop standard M.2 slots but are rather the enterprise connectors meant for drives such as the Intel 750, P3600 and P3700 NVMe SSDs. Seeing this in a lower-cost platform is excellent. We have been working on adding these ports to existing systems, often at around $125/ port. Having the dual port solution onboard opens the platform up to using higher end server NVMe SSDs.