Fujitsu Primergy BX400 S1 review

Fujitsu's new Primergy BX400 S1 blade server is a complete data centre on wheels for SMBs. However, HP sells a very similar system, the c3000 Shorty. Is the new Primergy a match for the Shorty? Dave Mitchell finds out in our exclusive review.

The base system comes with one management blade and you can add a second for redundancy. These have dedicated network ports and provide web browser access for managing and monitoring everything in the chassis.

Remote management is easily the match of HP as Fujitsu's ServerView Dashboard provides direct web access to the chassis, servers, interconnect modules and power supplies. Graphics of the front and rear show which components are installed and each one can be accessed individually for management and monitoring.

The dashboard provides a readout on power consumption for the entire chassis, as well as each server blade. You can choose from six power schemes to strike a balance between performance and consumption. Server blade power is also controlled from the dashboard. Once switched on, the iRMC2 embedded controller gives direct web access for remote control.

One feature that speeds up OS deployment immensely is the ability to boot each blade in sequence from a USB stick in the shared I/O module at the top of the chassis. This loads Fujitsu's ServerStart OS installation tool and once the first blade has finished with the media module and is in the process of loading the OS, it will be passed on to the next blade and the process started automatically.

The new BX400 S1 is a close match to HP's c3000 as they are both similarly priced and equally well built. HP does offer a greater number of server blade options, but the low noise levels of the BX400 S1 make it a very good choice for office use.

The only other blade server that competes in this market sector is IBM's BladeCenter S. Its 7U chassis has greater expansion potential, but it correspondingly takes up a lot more space. It's also much noisier so if you want this in your office you'll need IBM's massive office enablement kit.

Verdict

It's taken a long time for Fujitsu to respond to HP’s c3000 but the wait looks worthwhile. Although Fujitsu's server blade choices aren’t as extensive as HP’s, the BX400 S1 is equally well built, just as easily managed and its very low operational noise levels makes it highly suited to life in the office.

Chassis: 6U enclosure with eight half-width blade slots Power: 2 x 1600W hot-plug supplies (max. 4) Fans: 2 x hot-swap (max. 3) Expansion: Four interconnect I/O module bays Management: Fujitsu ServerView Dashboard, ServerView Suite software Other: DVD+/-RW +/-DL, USB, Serial I/O module

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