EXCLUSIVE - Fujitsu Siemens Primergy RX600 S4

Fujitsu Siemens is first to market with Intel’s six-core Xeon processor and sets a high standard for the rest to follow.

To put these figures in perspective we compared them with a quad-socket rack server using four 1.86GHz Xeon L7345 processors, which drew 356W in idle and 471W under heavy load. The power figures for the RX600 may look high but it's also worth comparing them with HP's ProLiant DL785. This eight-socket Opteron server drew 336W in idle and 598W under load and this was with only four 2.2GHz Opteron 8354 quad-core processors installed.

For remote server management Fujitsu Siemens is up there with the likes of HP now as its iRMC2 controller and ServerView suite deliver plenty of tools. The controller adds a second pair of Gigabit ports to the mix and also has its own dedicated Fast Ethernet management port. The card fits into a proprietary slot on the motherboard and provides a slick web interface from where you can view the status of critical components, keep an eye on environmental values and control power functions. You also have processor power management options, where can choose between the best performance or minimum power settings and schedule each one for different times of the day.

The main ServerView Suite software has seen some significant improvement making it even easier to use. This also provides a tidy web interface where you can view collections of servers with the relevant agent installed. Selecting one enables you check its hardware status and current power consumption, pull up hardware inventories and link errors or failures with alarms and alerts.

The new RX600 S4 is offering a tempting proposal, but there is the question of the next generation Nehalem processor and whether you should wait for this instead. Launch dates of early 2009 for the server version of Nehalem are being touted so Dunnington could be seen as an opportunity for Intel to steal some thunder from AMD's supposedly imminent release of its quad-core 45nm Shanghai.

It's expected that Nehalem will scale from two to eight cores but it represents Intel's first repeat of its two year cycle for introducing new architectures. Say goodbye to the elderly front-side bus as Nehalem will replace this with Intel's new QuickPath Interconnect and augment it with an integrated memory controller. Consequently, Nehalem is not an upgrade step as it isn't backward compatible with the 7400 series.

If you're not prepared to wait then as a server virtualisation and consolidation platform the Primergy RX600 S4 is a good proposition for large businesses. A 24-core Xeon server for a shade over ten grand looks good value, it's easy on the power supply and it offers plenty of room to expand.

Verdict

Fujitsu Siemens has a habit of delivering new server technology to market ahead of its main rivals and it does it again with its latest quad-socket server. The RX600 S4 may be based on Intel’s own server system but you’re getting an excellent specification for the price. Remote server management has seen significant improvements and there’s plenty of expansion potential on tap as well.

Chassis: 4U rack

CPU: 4 x 2.4GHz E7450 Xeon

Memory: 16GB 667MHz FB-DIMM expandable to 256GB

Storage: 2 x 73GB Seagate Savvio 2.5in. SFF SAS hard disks in hot-swap carriers

RAID: LSI1078 PCI-e SAS RAID controller with 512MB cache memory,

Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 50, 6, 60, hot-swap, hot-standby

Expansion: 4 x PCI-e 8X (hot-swap); 3 x PCI-e 4X

Network: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet

Power: 2 x 1570W hot-plug supplies

Management: iRMC2 remote management card with dual Gigabit and 10/100 ports

Software: ServerView software suite

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