Lenovo releases servers that can run at 45°C

Lenovo has become the third server manufacturer to update its enterprise server portfolio with latest Intel Xeon chips E5 2600 v3

Lenovo has become the third server manufacturer – after HP and Dell – to update its enterprise server portfolio with the latest Intel Xeon chips E5 2600 v3, codenamed Haswell

As the suppliers vie to capture the saturated and competitive datacentre server market, Lenovo said it is differentiating its latest ThinkServer products with energy-efficient designs that allow its servers to run as hot as 45°C.

The average datacentre runs between 20°C and 25°C and requires continuous cooling resources.

The company has updated its ThinkServer portfolio with three servers – two rack systems and one tower – designed for the software-defined datacentre and the cloud era.

Rack systems for compute-intensive workloads

The two rack systems – ThinkServer RD550 and RD650 – offer higher storage density and more I/O connectivity within standard 1U and 2U form factors.

The RD550 is designed for compute-intensive workloads as it can host up to 12 drive bays and up to 26.4TB of internal storage, providing the performance and capacity of a 2U system in a 1U form factor. 

Meanwhile, the 2U RD650 is designed for storage-intensive workloads such as databases, data analytics clusters and video streaming applications as it hosts up to 26 drive bays and up to 74.4TB of internal capacity for storage-hungry applications. 

Both rack servers are available with hybrid chassis configurations that allow a combination of 2.5in and 3.5in drives, ideal for creating a tiered storage environment. Two enterprise-class M.2 solid-state drives (SSDs) are also available as an option for secure booting, as well as SD card options for hypervisor booting. 

Among the new features is the inclusion of AnyFabric, AnyBay and AnyRAID technologies, meaning the servers support many combinations of I/O technologies, including up to four 10GB Ethernet ports and four fibre channel ports – leaving three PCIe slots available for other uses.

Both servers can be configured to support up to 768GB of DDR4 memory, which provides a bandwidth increase of up to 50% as well as a 50% increase in power efficiency over previous-generation DDR3 memory.  

Tower system for SMEs

The third addition to the ThinkServer portfolio is the 4U tower system, TD350 – also based on Xeon E5 2600 v3. It features nearly triple the memory capacity and double the storage capacity of the previous-generation server with up to 512GB of DDR4 memory and 90TB of internal storage capacity with either 2.5in or 3.5in drive configuration options, said Tom Goodwin, head of server and storage at Lenovo UK.

Lenovo is targeting small and medium businesses running workloads such as business analytics, large database and collaborative applications with the tower server system.

“The flexibility of the ThinkServer RD650 hybrid is ideal for our environment,” said Michael Sullivan, systems administrator at Semiconductor Research Corporation.  

“Large 3.5in drives combined with superfast 2.5in drives in the same server create a cost-effective yet high-performance solution well suited to database test and production systems,” he said.

Energy-efficient server design

According to Goodwin, datacentre power and cooling spending is often equal to or greater than the cost of powering the IT equipment itself. For every dollar spent on new IT infrastructure, seven dollars are spent on maintenance, he said.

The RD550, RD650 and TD350 are equipped with a dynamic environmental thermal design, meaning all three servers are architected to run at 45°C (ASHRAE A4) continuously with no impact on reliability.

“With datacentre operations costs rising, Lenovo’s newest server portfolio is designed to increase energy and cost efficiency,” Goodwin said.

This is important as organisations continue to optimise capital expenses through server virtualisation as the increase in utilisation puts a greater demand on the system. This is also ideal for customers looking to run servers in harsher environments or to reduce cooling expenses, according to the company.

“Lenovo’s next-gen ThinkServer systems are the evolution in Lenovo’s expanding commitment to the datacentre,” said Shannon Poulin, vice-president of Intel Data Center Group. 

“These servers, based on Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors, are designed to deliver the best combination of performance and efficiency across an array of datacentre solutions and deliver remarkable performance gains over the four-year-old installed base.”

Dell updated its PowerEdge server portfolio and HP its ProLiant server family with the new Xeon processors that support DDR4.

The new generation of Xeon processors are the first to launch support for DDR4 (double data rate fourth generation) memory. DDR4 memory features higher bandwidth interface and is faster than DDR2 and DDR3 technologies. The new memory support makes the new E5-2600 deliver 50% increased power efficiency and 50% improved bandwidth use.

The TD350, RD550 and RD650 will be available immediately in the UK and western Europe, with starting prices for TD350 at €1,415, RD550 at €1,655 and RD650 at €1,765 (before VAT).

The new servers come amid news that server shipments grew marginally in the second quarter of 2014 – the first rise in nearly three years. 

Gartner’s server report for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea) showed 0.8% growth in shipments for the quarter following falls in the 11 previous quarters.  

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