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Apr 10 2018

Maximize Mission-Critical System Reliability and Performance with FUJITSU Server PRIMEQUEST 3800E/3400E Systems

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As more and more businesses are deploying high-volume, high-value workloads such as OLTP or real-time analytics, data centers are struggling to strike a balance between performance and reliability on one hand, and space and cost efficiency on the other. Fujitsu's new PRIMEQUEST 3x00E systems help them achieve that goal much faster and with higher accuracy than before.

As digital transformation moves forward at a steady pace, lots of companies and IT departments find themselves caught in a predicament they may not have expected a few years back. Handling ever greater amounts of data and scouring them for actionable information means that they have to roll out enterprise-class applications – such as Hadoop or SAP HANA® – which they had not even heard about at the start of the decade. Moreover, there's far less time left to get acquainted with these new applications; they either have to work as intended from the start or organizations end up investing large amounts of time and money without apparent benefit. Fujitsu's new octo-socket and quad-socket rack servers PRIMEQUEST 3800E and 3400E offer the means to solve, or better still, avoid such dilemma.

This sounds remarkably easy in theory; however, in reality it is far more complex. To better understand the scope of the task at hand, let's look at the most common roadblocks that could hamper the successful redesign of an IT landscape if it were to be done with traditional means:

  • Complexity – operating and managing new applications and the underlying hardware infrastructures often looks like a mission that only highly skilled experts will be able to carry out
  • Breaking with standards – many of the above-named applications were initially developed to run on devices, namely UNIX servers or mainframes, that do not fit in with most firms' conventional, x86-based computing ecosystems
  • Lack of scalability – ultra-reliable and powerful hardware platforms are often extremely complicated, if not impossible to expand
  • Time and staff restrictions – even with an effective implementation, IT departments may still have to cope with longer working hours or to hire more administrators
  • Expenses – all of these factors combined could lead customers to the conclusion that it's better to stick with existing 'second-best' solutions than to venture into uncharted territory

By deploying our refreshed PRIMEQUEST systems, customers can finally combine the reliability of a UNIX/mainframe architecture with the efficiency of x86 servers to thoroughly modernize their IT infrastructure and increase performance and service levels. But what do these systems look like, and what exactly makes them a better fit than their predecessors?

Key Features and Similarities
Just like Fujitsu's latest generation of PRIMERGY servers, both new PRIMEQUEST systems build on Intel's Xeon® Processor Scalable Family, which was introduced last summer and boosts CPU performance by up to 50% per single core. The PRIMEQUEST 3800E exclusively relies on the Platinum range of these processors, while the PRIMEQUEST 3400E is also available with Gold-class CPUs. Both systems feature up to 28 cores per processor as well as clock speeds of up to 4.10 GHz in Turbo mode and are equipped with super-fast DDR4 memory running at 2,666 MHz. Other common attributes include a 'glue-less' design without external UPI cabling, easy serviceability (all modules can be accessed from the front or rear of the system without having to pull or plug wires), and full redundancy of components like fans and power supplies. Add in the compact 7U housing, and you get a server powerhouse optimized for density and with a space-saving footprint that dramatically simplifies server architecture for mission-critical computing. Depending on the environment in question, these latter features alone can be a major selling point. – Along with these common traits, each system offers various benefits of its own, as we will see below.

FUJITSU Server PRIMEQUEST 3800E
With an 8-socket layout (up to 224 cores) and up to 12 TB of main memory, the FUJITSU Server PRIMEQUEST 3800E (pictured at the top) looks poised to take on some of the most serious challenges modern data centers have to offer, such as running mission-critical customer, product or research databases; batch processing (required e.g. in financial transactions or for image and file format conversion before distribution of media content); 24/7 ordering and reservation systems; and real-time data analytics, which may be used by healthcare services to determine the best therapy for a patient's condition – or by retailers to better understand customer behavior.

Yet to deliver on this promise, sheer power and performance isn't enough. Businesses from all industries want to be able to provide customers and employees with reliable and stable IT and data services. To achieve this, they need a resilient platform with a comprehensive set of RAS features that reflect those of UNIX and mainframe systems. The PRIMEQUEST 3800E not only covers standard and advanced functions – such as enhanced single-device data correction (SDDC + 1), ECC, intra-socket memory mirroring, Machine Check Architecture (MCA) to report hardware errors or Adaptive Double DRAM Device Correction (ADDDC-MR) to prevent failures in and extend the lifecycle of main memory – but also a number of top-of-the-line capabilities not normally associated with x86-based systems. These include our Reserved System Board, which helps administrators build configurations that recover from mainboard failures in a matter of minutes, whereas Dynamic Reconfiguration ensures they can add or replace components like I/O units and system boards while the server remains online and functional. As a result, customers get a high-availability system that competes with classic UNIX/mainframe installations but comes at a fraction of the cost.

FUJITSU Server PRIMEQUEST 3400E
For customers with more moderate demands and for smaller environments, we've developed the FUJITSU Server PRIMEQUEST 3400E. As a 4-socket system with up to 112 cores and up to 6 TB of RAM, it's probably best described as the 'little brother' of the 3800E. However, this comparison is only correct with regard to total system processing power is concerned; it does not denote reduced functionality. Contrary to what one might expect, its built-in error correction/prevention and self-healing capabilities are identical with those of the larger system. Consequently, it qualifies for identical workloads and usage scenarios where a smaller number of end users is involved.

Conclusion
Fujitsu's refreshed set of mission-critical x86 servers combine substantially improved performance, optimized efficiency and an enhanced set of RAS features at an affordable price. Like their predecessors, they're perfect target systems for a wide range of mission-critical applications that need to be migrated from UNIX and mainframe installations to x86-based hardware. Moreover, the 7U housing of the new PRIMEQUEST 3800E/3400E models is considerably smaller in size than the 10U enclosure of the predecessors, so that customers can substantially reduce their data center footprint and cut energy costs. In other words, they get a server whose capabilities match or outclass those of legacy systems or earlier PRIMEQUEST models and that helps them save money. It doesn't get much better than that.

Aswin Shankar

 

About the Author:

Aswin Shankar

Global Product Marketing – Server Products

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