Rackable Systems unveils high-density servers

Rackable Systems announced new rack-mount servers on Monday that aim to provide more processing power while reducing power consumption and taking up less space.

The high-density servers pack two motherboards into a 2U unit with a single power supply, increasing the available processing power while consuming less energy, the company said.

Most servers today have one server board and one or two power supplies, said Geoff Noer, senior director of product marketing and management at Rackable. With the new servers two boards share one power supply.

Putting multiple server boards on a single power supply gives better power efficiency when the servers are running at peak load, according to Noer. Rackable’s previous servers all came with one power supply per board.

With no redundant power supply option, a power supply failure would affect both connected boards, Noer said. However, data centers would deal with half as many power-supply problems, and large-scale server deployments will be able to absorb the downtime, Noer said.

The new servers, the XE2004-SC1, XE2006-SC1 and XE2006-F1, come with dual-socket boards and support Intel Xeon or Advanced Micro Devices Opteron dual-core and quad-core processors. The AMD-based boards support up to 64G bytes of memory, and the Intel-based boards support up to 48G bytes of memory.

Another server, the XE2208-SC1, is designed to be used in Rackable System’s modular data center, called Ice Cube, and includes two power supplies to handle four dual-socket Intel-based boards. The other servers can also be used with Ice Cube.

The modular data centers, built in 40-foot corrugated metal shipping containers, will be able to house 700 of Rackable’s 2U servers, The servers are fanless because the containers use water cooling instead. With the XE2208-SC1, the modular data could contain up to 22,400 processor cores.

Baylor College of Medicine, which uses servers from multiple vendors including Rackable for its human genome project, is considering buying the new servers, said David Parker, director of information systems.

“The new servers will give me more density. I’ve got very limited floor space so the more things I can jam in a rack, the better off I am,” Parker said. Parker said previous servers he bought from Rackable saved him 26 percent in power costs compared to servers from other vendors. Baylor needs the fastest CPUs it can get for image processing for the genome project, but it may buy other servers from Rackable later this year with low-power processors for virtualization applications, he said.

The new servers will be available worldwide in the next month. Pricing information wasn’t immediately available.

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