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May 08 2015

Redefine Critical Workload Processing: FUJITSU Server PRIMEQUEST 2000 Series, Second Generation

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Since the turn of the century, once exotic applications like predictive analysis, high-frequency trading, simulation or real-time communication/collaboration have turned into common techniques that lay the groundwork for our hyper-connected economy. While the results are generally positive, the side effects can be profound for organizations that need to follow the trend to stay competitive. That's because these applications only function properly on exceptionally robust, near-infallible backend systems – meaning, mainframe computers with Unix-based OS's and an unusually heavy price tag. And for a long time, standard servers with x86 technology were no alternative.

When it comes to business-centric high-end computing, users as well as vendors typically follow rigorous principles. Some of these principles remain true until this day, for instance the one that states, "Quality of Service is paramount." In practical terms, this means that certain services and types of data must remain operative and accessible to end users (read: employees and clients) 24/7/365. Others seem to be mere beliefs, among them the idea that to achieve such service levels, organizations have to rely on one, and only one, technology – the combination of mainframe computers building on POWER or SPARC processor architectures and Unix operating systems. However, the latest edition of the renowned TOP500 list shows that meanwhile 15 of the world's 20 most powerful supercomputers rely on standard server processors from Intel or AMD, and all of them use different flavors of Linux. Against this backdrop, it was only logical that hardware developers started to build mission-critical servers around the more cost-efficient x86 CPU design. That was the premise when roughly a year and a half ago we introduced our first generation of Intel® Xeon®-based PRIMEQUEST servers.

18 months and several benchmark records later, it is now time for a thorough refresh of the series, for two main reasons. One is that earlier this week, Intel1 launched its new, third lineup of Xeon® E7 processors – successor to the generation that helped us set VMmark and TPC-E world records over the course of 2014. The other is that during this period, we gained very valuable insights from existing implementations and used them to further optimize the latest-gen PRIMEQUEST systems.

Family Traits
To this end, our developers analyzed the common needs of large organizations in finance, manufacturing , IT and more that process extraordinary amounts of data and what they expect from x86-based systems. Aside from a chance to reduce infrastructure expenses, these are the capabilities they are looking for:

  • Adequate reliability to perform business- and mission-critical tasks
  • Enough power to deliver 'mainframe-quality' results for demanding applications in shorter time
  • Easy maintenance with next to no downtimes
  • Cost efficient computing capabilities unifying the above mentioned tasks

In short, organizations not only want new systems that can take over from the old mainframes, but ones that provide a major competitive edge. The second-generation PRIMEQUEST 2000 series picks up on these demands, expanding the capabilities of its predecessors and breaking a few more records in the process thanks to a host of innovative hardware features and functions, namely:

  • New processors – all new models run on Intel's Xeon E7-4800 and E7-8800 v3 product families that offer 20% more cores (18 instead of 15), 20% more last level cache (45 instead of 37,5 MB), and a QPI link that supports transfer speeds of 9.6 GT/s (up from a maximum 8 GT/s in the v2 family). Moreover, these new Xeons come equipped with the complete set of Intel's optimization technologies, including TSX, Turbo Boost, Hyper-Threading, virtualization support, and Run Sure.
  • Fresh main memory – all models use DDR4 memory technology to meet extensive enterprise workload demands with higher bandwidth and reduced power consumption, enabling users to convert former wait time to work time.
  • RAS features – to enhance reliability, availability and serviceability, all PRIMEQUEST 2000 series second generation servers provide redundancy of all main parts and the complete set of enterprise-level RAS features such as advanced memory protection, MCA health checks and failure prevention, PCIe live error recovery, intra-socket memory mirroring, and double-device data correction (DDDC).

Just like the first edition, the new lineup consists of three models that will and take on all the required tasks to serve as rock-solid platforms for data center infrastructures. And by the way: the whole PRIMEQUEST family is SAP HANA® certified right from the start:

  • The FUJITSU Server PRIMEQUEST 2800B2 is an 8-socket rack server with the latest Intel® Xeon® E7-8800 v3 processor family; it is easy to scale up to 144 cores and 12TB DDR4 main memory. In conjunction with 32 PCIe 3.0 slots and advanced RAS, it is the right choice for demanding databases, in-memory solutions such as SAP HANA®, and business-critical applications like BI workloads and reporting.
  • The FUJITSU Server PRIMEQUEST 2400E2 and 2800E2 (pictured at the top) rely on the same hardware and offer the same basic capabilities as their cousin. Designed to run mission-critical applications, e.g. for financial transactions or internal/external communications, they also feature self-healing capabilities and unique features such as Dynamic Reconfiguration, which allows for real-time balancing of system resources while applications stay up and running. Isolated physical partitions ensure highest data availability, because hardware failures on one partition will not affect the others. What's more, defective system boards can be automatically replaced with a Reserved System Board, so that applications and services are recovered immediately.

World Records
To keen observers, the above improvements may seem rather unspectacular and predictable. However, even the best-informed experts couldn't know something we only learned immediately before the launch of the new product family – namely, that the PRIMEQUEST 2800E2 would set no less than six world records in benchmark tests for General and Technical Computing, Business Processing, and Infrastructure Virtualization. Probably the most important were the one achieved in the SAP SD 2-Tier Benchmark on Windows, in which an eight-socket configuration of our server supported over 58,600 users per hour, and the overall world record in the VMmark 2.5 Performance Benchmark, where we scored 78.41 @ 70 tiles – a 10% improvement over last year's result that leaves the competition even further behind than in 2014.

Conclusion
The FUJITSU Server PRIMEQUEST 2000 Series second generation helps customers to not only replace outdated infrastructure components, but practically redefine their business-critical and mission-critical compute capabilities. With their combination of outstanding performance and superior reliability, they easily match the capabilities of mainframe/Unix units. Add to that lower hardware investments and a reduction in operational expenses (no mainframe or Unix skills needed), and you get an almost perfect migration scenario for your SAP, Oracle or otherwise indispensable environments and processes. Not to mention you'll be able to keep up with the pace of a hyper-connected economy – and sometimes even outrun it.

[1] Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon, and Xeon Inside are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Marcel Schuster

 

About the Author:

Marcel Schuster

Senior Specialist Marketing Manager – Data Center Systems / Server

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