[LINK] Green web servers with netbook components

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Wed May 20 19:58:31 EST 2009


Adrian writes,

> My feeling is that this current "green" movement in IT is ignoring where
> the most savings would be - fixing the OS and applications -  Adrian

Yes. And on this point, re servers, Sun may seem to be blurring the edges?

Sure, this white paper is an ad for Sun .. but, also, might be of interest
especially regarding Sun's claim for improved datacentre energy efficiency


 https://www.sun.com/offers/docs/X4x70_server_architecture.pdf


Take a look inside Sun's line of mid-level servers featuring the powerful 
performance of the Intel® Xeon® Processor 5500 Series ("Nehalem").

In compact 1U and 2U form factors, the Sun Fire X4170, X4270, and X4275 
servers combine the power of a new generation of Intel Xeon processors 
with Sun's system engineering expertise. 

These servers offer the needed density and expandability to satisfy 
demanding datacenter applications, especially for virtualization and 
consolidation initiatives. 

This white paper describes the architecture of the Sun Fire X4170, X4270, 
and X4275 servers, including the processor technology, I/O subsystem, 
built-in systSUN FIRE™ X4170, X4270, AND X4275


SERVER ARCHITECTURE:  Optimizing Performance, Density, and Expandability 
to Maximize Datacenter Value

White Paper 
April 2009

Abstract 

In compact 1U and 2U form factors, the Sun Fire X4170, X4270, and X4275 
servers combine the power of a new generation of Intel Xeon processors 
with Sun’s system engineering expertise. 

Based on Sun’s Open Network System design approach, these servers offer 
the needed performance, density, and expandability to satisfy demanding 
datacenter applications, especially for virtualization and consolidation 
initiatives. 

This white paper describes the architecture of the Sun Fire X4170, X4270, 
and X4275 servers, including the processor technology, I/O subsystem, 
built-in system management features, and range of supported operating 
systems.

 
Exec Summary

Datacenter complexity, energy, and cost issues continue to plague 
businesses and their bility to operate effectively within tight budget 
constraints. 

In recent years, an increase in the number of collaborative, Web, and 
data-centric applications has driven up the number of datacenter compute 
servers, adding to the administrative workload and compounding an already 
difficult IT management task. 

Complexity can sometimes result in severe business impacts, slowing 
productivity, extending development cycles, and delaying time to market. 

While datacenters try to cope with increasing complexity, they strive to 
control energy and other operating costs, while still keeping pace with 
the growing demand for computing and storage resources. 

To achieve greater business and datacenter efficiencies and enhance 
agility, many small businesses and larger companies are turning to 
consolidation and implementing virtualization initiatives.


Using state-of-the-art Intel® Xeon® processor technology 
(codenamed “Nehalem”), Sun has engineered powerful 1U and 2U systems that 
are well-suited for HPC, grid computing, database, Web infrastructure, as 
well as consolidation and virtualization. 

These systems offer density and expandability in compute, memory, 
storage, and I/O subsystems, including the integration of low-latency, 
enterprise-quality solid state disk (SSD) drive technology. 

These systems are also highly energy-efficient and offer flexible support 
for multiple operating systems — the Solaris™ and OpenSolaris™ Operating 
Systems, Linux, Microsoft Windows, and VMware. 


The Sun Fire X4170, X4270, and X4275 servers showcase Intel’s talent for 
creating high-performance commodity chipsets along with Sun’s advanced 
engineering and quality system design. Engineered for mission-critical 
availability, these servers feature several redundant and hot-swappable 
components and built-in system management tools. 

With efficient front-to-back air flow, highly efficient power supplies, 
and Intel’s built-in processor power management technologies, these 
servers are engineered to conserve valuable energy resources, which helps 
to lower day-to-day operational expenses. 

By taking advantage of Sun’s expertise in Open Network System design, 
these servers deliver innovation that optimizes operational efficiency 
and economics in the datacenter.



Chapter 1

Managing Capacity and Complexity 
Introducing the Sun Fire™ X4170, X4270, and X4275 servers

To help IT managers optimize value and reduce complexity in the 
infrastructure, Sun offers a new series of Intel® Xeon® processor-based 
systems — the Sun Fire X4170, X4270, and X4275 servers — based on Sun’s 
Open Network System approach. This approach blends cost-effective, 
industry-standard components with innovative technologies, yielding 
compact 1U and 2U servers with unprecedented density, high performance, 
and energy efficiency. The Sun Fire X4170, X4270, and X4275 servers offer

• Advanced levels of performance.The Sun Fire X4170, X4270, and X4275 
servers share a common motherboard that contains two sockets for Intel® 
Xeon® Processor 5500 Series (formerly Nehalem-EP). With new Hyper 
Threading technology, these CPUs can provide twice as many compute 
threads as previous generation processors. They also support enhanced 
power management features, the new QuickPath Interconnect, and 
Intel “Turbo Boost” technology that helps to deliver new levels of 
performance while lowering power consumption. 


• Remarkable density. Density is the cornerstone of the Sun Fire X4170, 
X4270, and X4275 server designs. When populated in a 42-rack unit (RU) 
enclosure, the 1U Sun Fire X4170 server facilitates a single rack with up 
to 84 processors, 756 DIMM slots and 126 PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 slots. In 
a single 2U chassis, the Sun Fire X4275 server supports up to 12 
terabytes of internal storage (based on 3.5-inch SATA devices). These 
servers provide the density needed for consolidation and virtualization 
initiatives — many smaller servers can be merged into a single Sun Fire 
X4170, X4270, or X4275 server to conserve space, lower energy expense, 
and reduce costly administrative talent. Support for multiple operating 
systems helps to streamline consolidation, simplify virtualization, and 
diminish server sprawl. 

•Extensive system expandability. The ability to expand a server over time 
reduces the need for additional capital acquisitions and lowers 
application lifecycle costs. The 1U Sun Fire X4170 server enables a 
maximum of eight internal 2.5-inch hard disk devices (HDDs) while the 2U 
Sun Fire X4270 server provides up to sixteen 2.5-inch devices and up to 
six 8-lane PCIe 2.0 slots. With an innovative new 2U chassis enclosure 
that can house 3.5-inch devices, the Sun Fire X4275 server supports up to 
twelve internal HDDs and up to six PCIe 2.0 slots. All three server 
models are available with four on-board Gigabit Ethernet ports, and can 
be configured with either SAS or SATA hard disk drives. In addition, 
these servers are designed from the ground up to accept low-latency solid 
state disks (SSDs) for performance-intensive applications. Because these 
servers can easily integrate enterprise-quality flash technology and 
offer such expandability, they can scale easily to support new users, 
more transactions, and new 32-bit or 64-bit applications, enhancing 
longevity and increasing overall ROI. 

• Improved energy efficiency. Sun offers a portfolio of eco-responsible 
products and computing solutions to address customers’ needs to reduce 
energy consumption. In the Sun Fire X4170, X4270, and X4275 servers, the 
Intel Xeon Processor 5500 Series incorporates new technologies that 
decrease power consumption when processing workloads diminish. When the 
workload is low, the new Intel® Core Microarchitecture (codenamed 
Nehalem) adjusts power use, reducing processor frequency, limiting power 
to unused execution units in each core, or temporarily disabling “Turbo 
Boost” features, which together can help to decrease power and cooling 
requirements. High-efficiency power supplies in the server chassis also 
lower overall power consumption. Variable speed fans, disk carrier 
design, and front-to-back air flow help to effectively cool the system 
and maintain appropriate processor and system ambient temperatures, which 
also help to minimize the energy footprint. 

• Enterprise-class high availability. The Sun Fire X4170, X4270, and 
X4275 servers are designed with enterprise-class RAS (Reliability, 
Availability, and Serviceability) features. To maximize uptime, systems 
include redundant hot-swappable fans and are configurable with redundant 
hot-swappable power supplies. Using a Sun StorageTek™ SAS RAID Host Bus 
Adapter (HBA), internal SAS or SATA 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. Four integrated Gigabit Ethernet ports 
enhance network availability — without consuming a PCIe 2.0 slot — and 
can be implemented in failover configurations. On-board system management 
tools encourage remote, proactive monitoring and intervention.

• Simplified system management. To support out-of-band management, the 
Sun Fire X4170, X4270, and X4275 servers incorporate a service processor 
that features robust“lights-out” management capabilities. This built-in 
functionality allows administrators to monitor and manage systems 
remotely, enabling corrective actionand minimizing unplanned downtime. 
New “side-band” management capabilities allow one of the four on-board 
Ethernet ports to be configured for system management, which can reduce 
the number of network switch connections needed.


The Sun Fire X4170, X4270, and X4275 servers combine powerful compute 
performance with expandable storage, memory, and I/O resources. As a 
result, these systems are designed to scale up, scale out, and scale 
within, enabling implementation in a wide range of application 
architectures:

•Scale-up architectures.With multiple cores and processing threads, these 
servers arewell-suited to scale for growing workloads that deliver Web, 
database, and other key nfrastructure services.

•Scale-out architectures.With the Intel QuickPath interconnect 
technology, large memory capacities, internal storage, four Gigabit 
Ethernet ports, and high-bandwidth PCIe 2.0 expansion for high-speed 
system interconnects (such as fiber channel and InfiniBand), these 
servers can scale to solve complex computing problems that demand 
intensive compute power and data bandwidth. 

•Scale-within.With the ability to support industry-leading virtualization 
software (including VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Sun xVM, these servers 
are ideal systems to consolidate applications within a single extensible 
platform.



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