IBM Targets High-Density, HPC Markets With NeXtScale Server Line

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IBM’s NeXtScale System is the newest addition to IBM’s x86 portfolio. The flexible computing platform provides three times as many cores as current one-unit rack servers. (Photo: IBM)

High density data centers often feature racks filled with blue blinking lights. Are cloud builders ready to populate those racks with Big Blue servers?

IBM today introduced the NeXtScale System, a new x86 computing platform designed to bring “the power of a supercomputer in any data center.” IBM says the new servers will combine high-density and improved power efficiency, and can operate in data center environments as warm as 104 degrees F. That’s a scenario seen most often in hyperscale server farms, which represent a growing chunk of server sales.

“NeXtScale is designed to deliver raw throughput and performance, and is positioned well to handle HPC, cloud, grid, and managed hosted workloads,” said Kevin Rozynek, NASA Client Executive at IBM Business Partner Direct Systems Support. “In addition, this new system provides clients a great deal of flexibility in configuration and components, making it one platform that can do it all.”

The NeXtScale servers leverage Intel’s new Xeon E5-2600 v2 processors, which were officially introduced today at the Intel Developer Forum. NeXtScale in corporates up to 84 x86-based systems and 2,016 processing cores in a standard 19-inch rack, and uses industry-standard components including I/O cards and top-of-rack networking switches.

Form Factors Include Rolling Racks

NeXtScale is configured to be flexible to meet a range of data center requirements, and can be purchased as a single node, an empty or configured chassis, or in full racks as a complete pre-tested IBM Intelligent Cluster solution.

IBM also provides a software stack to run atop of NeXtScale, including IBM General Parallel File System, GPFS Storage Server, xCAT, and Platform Computing, providing powerful scheduling, management and optimization tools.

“NeXtScale is designed to deliver raw throughput and performance, and is positioned well to handle HPC, cloud, grid, and managed hosted workloads,” said Kevin Rozynek, NASA Client Executive at IBM Business Partner Direct Systems Support. “In addition, this new system provides clients a great deal of flexibility in configuration and components, making it one platform that can do it all.”

On the storage front, IBM today introduced the x3650 M4 HD, an enhancement of its 3650-class system featuring first-in-class 12-gigabyte RAID and a 60-percent higher spindle count for higher density storage and higher IO performance, making it ideal for applications such as big data and business-critical workloads.

IBM NeXtScale and System x3650 M4 HD are part of a broad refresh of the entire System x core server portfolio of two-socket systems to incorporate the Xeon E5-2600 v2 product family, including System x racks and towers, Flex System, iDataPlex, and BladeCenter offerings.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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