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Aug 01 2017

Workload-Specific Power in Compact Form: FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY CX400 M4 with Intel® Xeon® Processor Scalable Family CPUs


One of the greatest obstacles for a healthy data center development always was that most companies regarded IT as a "necessary evil." More recently, however, that view has changed considerably – not least because platforms like Fujitsu's PRIMERGY CX400 M4 systems serve as powerful yet cost-effective key enablers that fit into almost any usage scenario.

The role of IT in business has changed quite a bit over the past three decades. In the beginning, digital devices were considered welcome helpers that could help streamline boring and time-consuming, but nonetheless error-prone tasks, such as writing standard letters or doing inventories. Then came the era in which everyone thought of IT as a tool, when hard- and software were supposed to help entrepreneurs and managers to run their shops in an efficient, reliable and transparent manner. Since the mid-2000s, IT is increasingly seen as a key enabler, or in other words, the very foundation that services like Facebook, Airbnb and Uber built their business models on. Over the course of this development, digital technology has moved from what might be called the fringes of the business world to its epicenter.

Sure enough, for most of us that's not really news. However, it's still sometimes amazing to see just how pervasive and ubiquitous digital technologies such as mobile and cloud computing, IoT and big data have become. From ticketing and payment services through parcel tracking and home automation to monitoring of production equipment and airport surveillance – the number of usage scenarios is practically endless, and so is the demand for a potent, agile and solid IT. As a matter of fact, no modern-day enterprise, regardless of size or industry, could succeed without such a platform.

A Powerful, Cost-Effective Platform
While this is common knowledge among start-ups and established firms alike, they also understand there's no longer just one single, clear-cut approach to building adequate IT infrastructures. At least that's what the sheer number and variety of the above scenarios suggest. Yet one very basic rule of infrastructure-building still applies today as it did five or ten years ago: On the one hand, companies want powerful and versatile servers that can easily adapt to changing business needs; on the other, they want affordable solutions that prohibit hardware investments and management costs from going through the rooftop. By this standard, one particularly economic way to build an IT infrastructure is to use multi-node servers like the ones that make up our new FUJITSU PRIMERGY CX400 M4 product line.

The Server Nodes
At this point, some readers may blink and wonder why we're talking about a line of models rather than a single system. But the reason is very clear once you've looked under the hood: In essence, the CX400 modular enclosure provides the basis for our ecosystem of scale-out server nodes that aim to combine the density and efficiency of blade-like machines with the simplicity and cost benefits of rack-based systems. In this setup, our three new dual-socket server nodes PRIMERGY CX2550 M4, CX2560 M4 and CX2570 M4 provide the compute power, whereas the CX400 M4 enclosure serves as a 'container' for all other relevant components, such as power supplies and fan modules. Each of these chassis may be populated with a mix of independent application servers (e.g. for databases, BI or ERP workloads) for extended flexibility. Moreover, every node is now equipped with Intel's Xeon® Processor Scalable Family CPUs instead of 'old-school' Xeon E5 and E7 processors. As we've noted before, this new product line combines the 14nm Skylake microarchitecture with a C624 chipset and LGA 3647 socket and is grouped into four classes – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum – that offer ascending levels of performance and integrated functionality plus a much larger set of discrete expansion options for storage, networking and compute acceleration. The flexibility of the CX400 is thus substantially enhanced – up to the point where IT departments could set up a miniature data center in a single housing. To better understand this, let's look at some server specs:

  • The FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY CX2550 M4 is the low-cost server node designed to provide a basis for cloud infrastructures and carry out typical HPC workloads, e.g. in fluid dynamics and simulations. This system combines Gold- and Platinum-class Intel® Xeon® Processor Scalable Family CPUs that feature up to 28 cores and run at maximum clock speeds of 3.7 GHz in Turbo mode with up to 2 TB of DDR4 main memory running at a frequency of 2,666 MHz. In addition, Intel's new processors support a bunch of advanced technologies, for example the AVX-512 instruction set. In our specific context, the most important enhancements are UltraPath Interconnect (UPI) and the Omni-Path Architecture (Intel® OPA): The former helps to raise the data exchange rates between CPUs in a multi-socket system, while the latter rounds out a vast set of connectivity options including basic onboard LAN and two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots. OPA helps administrators to create an optional CPU direct high-speed interconnect offering extra low communication latencies, low power consumption and a high throughput. Thanks to this mix of tweaks and sophisticated technologies, the half-width, 1U PRIMERGY CX2550 M4 will readily deliver the increased multi-tenancy options and higher VM density required to handle critical cloud applications as well as highly parallelizable workloads. Plus, it looks more than ready to take on future application and data growth scenarios.
  • The FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY CX2560 M4 is what you'd normally call a classic workhorse, albeit one that was developed for IT departments that are subject to space restrictions and thus need ultra-compact servers, but still strive for new levels of efficiency and density. As a typical all-rounder, it will run mainstream enterprise applications and cover tasks like web serving and dedicated hosting as well as infrastructure virtualization and analytics. Unlike the CX2550 M4, this model is not available with 28-core Platinum-class processors and can make use of up to six storage drives. However, the top-of-the-line 26-core CPU is more than sufficient to handle the above-named workloads, especially when paired with a full 16-piece set of DDR4, 128 GB memory modules (a total of 2 TB). For less demanding scenarios, it may also be equipped with Silver- and Bronze-class processors. The standard configuration offers basic onboard LAN connectivity, but can be enhanced with DynamicLOM and two additional PCIe controllers.
  • The FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY CX2570 M4 for its part was designed as a base unit for HPC and VDI environments. Technically, it's the only among the three new models that can be fitted with 28-core Platinum-level as well as 6-core Bronze-level processors; maximum clock speeds are the same as for the CX2550 M4, and main memory capacities max out at 2 TB like in both other models. By contrast, it's also the only 2U model – a difference that's mainly owed to the fact that each node includes expansion slots for up to four NVIDIA® Tesla® M60 or Tesla® P100 GPUs that can be used to power graphics-heavy applications such as Autodesk Maya, 3DS CATIA and Siemens PLM NX or alternatively to deliver the performance required for machine learning/deep learning environments. In terms of connectivity, the PRIMERGY CX2570 M4 offers basic onboard LAN, DynamicLOM, and an additional PCIe expansion slot.


Fig. 1: The PRIMERGY CX400 M4 provide the power for virtualized desktop infrastructures (VDI), High Performance and Technical Computing, Big Data, Cloud Computing but also serves as a foundation for hyper-converged infrastructures.

Chassis and Management Software
As noted above, the FUJITSU PRIMERGY CX400 M4 line gets its name from the enclosure rather than from the server nodes it houses. As a 2U chassis, it has room for up to four PRIMERGY CX2550/2560 M4 or up to two PRIMERGY CX2570 M4 nodes and can hold up to two dozen 2.5-inch SAS or SATA HDDs/SSDs, PCIe SSDs plus M.2 drives for booting. More importantly, however, it provides the underlying infrastructure of shared components that multi-node configurations need. These components include:

  • Two hot-pluggable PSUs with 94% efficiency that are set up in a 1 + 1 redundancy configuration and each provide 1,600 or 2,400 watts
  • Eight hot-pluggable and redundant fans in a 7 + 1 setup
  • Standard air cooling with Fujitsu's unique Cool-safe® ATD technology that allows for server operation in an extended temperature range of 5 to 45 °C (41 to 113 °F) or alternatively a Cool-Central® LCT liquid cooling unit that captures up to 80% of server heat
  • The iRMC S5 remote management controller, which simplifies operation and management of heterogeneous server environments using a unified API and an intuitive, interactive web GUI

Like all other PRIMERGY servers, the scale-out models come with a free copy of our ServerView Suite management software. For our PRIMERGY CX400 M4 product line, we've devised an 'expanded version' that now includes the new component ServerView® Infrastructure Manager (ISM). ISM was created to close the gap between regular server management, which typically focuses on single units/machines, and overarching data center management tasks. In short, the software package enables customers to drive towards the path of software-defined infrastructure. ServerView® Infrastructure Manager is exclusively available for FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY CX400 M4 in the first release version.

Availability and Pricing
FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY CX400 M4 server systems are available from Fujitsu and its channel partners. As outlined above, configuration options vary depending on the choice of server nodes. Pricing varies based on configuration and region.

For more information, please refer to the product site and configuration guide (PDF) – or contact your Fujitsu account manager. Or if you'd rather get glimpse of the PRIMERGY CX400 M4 in operation, check out this FUJITSU Videoflash.

Timo Lampe


About the Author:

Timo Lampe

Senior Specialist Marketing Manager – Data Center Systems / Server


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