Wednesday, April 11

New dual socket AMD system from Dell

Dell just introduced a new two socket AMD Opteron system, the PowerEdge 2970, a system designed to compete with Sun x4200 and the HP DL385 G2.
Fairly similar to the Intel-based PowerEdge 2950 but with AMD procs. Same redundancy with dual psu's, two onboard nic's and the onboard DRAC5 remote management adapter.
Comes default with the 8 slot 2.5" SAS backplane which is nice to see. I'm all in favour of 2.5" drives over 3.5" in small servers. Up to 32Gb RAM, with expensive 4GB DIMMS that is, 32Gb comes in at about $35000 USD :)
Perfect little J2EE application server running Linux.

It's interesting to see the latest trends in that area. A number of our clients, major investment banks, are currently in the middle of Linux migration projects.
One thing I think slowed Linux adaptation in past has been the "32-bit barrier" and the limit it puts on memory allocation. A J2EE app with a maximum heap size of about 1.5Gb isn't very popular. 8 or even 16Gb is not unusual to see on the Solaris/SPARC side.
Now with AMD Opteron processors (and Intel EM64T) and a mature 64-bit Linux environment that problem has gone away. Websphere 6.0.2 runs perfectly on my test machine with 6Gb heap, performance is great.
Actually all but one of our "Linux clients" are moving to AMD machines over Intel Xeon's, HP and Sun AMD based hardware only so far.
One good example is a project that is currently being migrated from a six processor Sun v890 to a HP DL585, they even got a small performance increase.
Sad to see the SPARC's go but fun to see new platforms coming. Linux one one side and Solaris 10 on the other side.
But the SPARC's will be back, the new "rock" SPARC processor just hit silicone and with it's massive coherent memory access space of 256 Tb, the expected number of cores and performance. It will kick some serious ass.


Anonymous said...

Servers like the Dell PowerEdge 2970, Sun Fire x4200 and HP Proliant DL385 with AMD Opteron processors are NUMA systems by design. In my opinion, when equipped with two dual core processors and loads of memory they are also perfect servers for VMware Virtual Infrastructure because VMware is NUMA-optimized.


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