Broadberry CyberServe EPYC TN70A-B8026 review

Broadberry presents a classy storage server of EPYC proportions

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£7,328
  • Great value; 32-core AMD EPYC 7551P CPU; 24 PCIe NVMe SSD bays; 128GB of DDR4 included in the price; High storage performance; Low power consumption
  • No onboard RAID for internal M.2 SSDs or SATA drives

It isn't often we are offered Tyan servers for review and Broadberry aims to correct this oversight by supplying a rack server with a monumental specification. Not only does the CyberServe sport a high-end 32-core AMD EPYC 7551P CPU, but it's prepped for some serious storage action as all 24 SFF drive bays support PCI-Express (PCIe) NVMe SSDs.

This storage equation is designed to get the best out of the EPYC CPU; it utilizes 96 of its 128 PCIe lanes, with each NVMe SSD getting four dedicated lanes. Even better, this still leaves 32 lanes free for more expansion cards - a trick no 1P Xeon Scalable server can pull off.

AMD's EPYC CPUs are single-package SoCs (system on chips) designed to offer a more affordable alternative to 2P servers that can match them for core count, memory capacity and I/O bandwidth. With AMD's Zen core technology at their heart, the EPYCs have eight integral 2,666MHz memory channels supporting up to 2TB - more than twice the capacity of the standard Xeon Scalable Silver and Gold series that AMD is targeting.

Broadberry CyberServe EPYC TN70A-B8026: Storage features

The CyberServe is built around a Tyan Transport SX TN70A-B8026 2U server platform which is available with a wide range of storage options. We have the B8026T70AE24HR model which focuses specifically on direct-attach PCIe NMVe SSDs.

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Its backplane features twelve SFF-8612 OCuLink ports with eight cabled directly to the motherboard's embedded ports and the other four serviced by two dual-port Tyan M2093 controller cards fitted in the PCIe risers further back. The price includes a pair of super-fast 1TB Intel SSD DC P4500 NMVe SSDs which employ 64-Layer 3D TLC NAND technology.

There's more: the motherboard offers two embedded M.2 SSD slots and Broadberry includes a 256GB Intel M.2 NVMe SSD module for the OS. The only glitch here is a lack of embedded RAID controller so you can't protect dual M.2 SSDs with a mirror.

You can also add a couple of SFF SATA drives as the chassis has an internal mounting cage with SATA and power connectors ready and waiting. Again, these can't be protected with a hardware RAID mirror.

With Windows Server 2016 loaded, the OS can see all NVMe SSDs as separate drives. You can use them individually or employ Microsoft's dynamic disks and create spanned, striped, mirrored or RAID5 arrays if you wish.

Broadberry CyberServe EPYC TN70A-B8026: NVMe performance

We used one NVMe drive to create a simple volume and ran a range of benchmark apps on it to gauge overall performance. Starting with the ATTO Disk Benchmark app, we recorded impressive sequential read and write rates of 2,762MB/sec and 1,128MB/sec - very similar to Intel's quoted speeds.

Performance was fairly consistent across apps with CrystalDiskMark reporting sequential reads and write rates of 2,572MB/sec and 1,150MB/sec. We also tested with the AS SSD Benchmark app which returned slightly lower read and write speeds of 2,128MB/sec and 1,109MB/sec.

Random performance was a mixed bag with Iometer set to 4KB transfer requests reporting read and write I/O throughputs of 320,000 IOPS and 250,000 IOPS. The AS SSD Benchmark app generally agreed with Iometer as it recorded throughputs of 305,000 IOPS and 250,000 IOPS.

Random read performance is noticeably down on Intel's claimed maximum of 465,000 IOPS but impressive nonetheless. Conversely, our random write figures were markedly higher than Intel's quoted 70,000 IOPS.

Broadberry CyberServe EPYC TN70A-B8026: Expansion and management

The server is supplied with two 3-slot PCIe riser cards so even with the two resident OCuLink controller cards, there's still room to add up to four more adapters. The CyberServe has dual embedded Gigabit ports but you won't need to use any PCIe slots to upgrade networking as the motherboard has a pair of dedicated OCP slots with Tyan offering a range of LAN mezzanine cards comprising dual-port 1GbE, 10GbE and 25GbE plus single-port 100GbE.

Broadberry includes a very generous 128GB of fast 2,666MHz DDR4 memory in the price. The 16 DIMM slots currently support 64GB modules so maximum memory is pegged at 1TB.

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Power is handled by dual 770W hot-plug PSUs and we found the CyberServe and AMD combo easy on the supply. We measured it consuming 92W in idle which peaked at only 185W with the EPYC under extreme load - an HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 with dual 12-core Xeon Gold CPUs drew a much higher 272W under load.

Tyan's remote management is basic and can't match HPE's iLO5 or Dell's iDRAC9 for features. Even so, the AS2500 web console provides plenty of information about all the important bits with facilities to drill down and view graphs of selected components.

You can use the PEF (platform event filter) service to create multiple policies linking events and errors with email alerts. The controller also provides great access security with a system firewall and facilities to authenticate remote users with LDAP, RADIUS and Active Directory. Value looks even better as the AS2500 includes full OS remote control and virtual media services as standard and not as optional upgrades.

Broadberry CyberServe EPYC TN70A-B8026: Verdict

SMEs and enterprises looking for a high-performance 1P storage server with plenty of room to grow will find the Tyan-based CyberServe EPYC TN70A-B8026 an excellent choice. Broadberry delivers a superb hardware package for the price which includes a powerful 32-core AMD EPYC CPU and 128GB of DDR4 memory, combines these with support for up to 24 super-fast PCIe NVMe SSDs and delivers it all at a very tempting price.

Verdict

With a core-heavy AMD EPYC CPU and integral support for up to 24 PCIe NVMe SSDs, the CyberServe is a powerful, high-performance storage server at a great price

Chassis: 2U rack CPU: 2GHz 32-core AMD EPYC 7551P Memory: 128GB 2,666MHz DDR4 RDIMM (max 1TB) Storage bays: 24 x PCIe NVMe SSD, 2 x M.2 NVMe SSD slots, 2 internal SFF SATA Hardware RAID: None Storage included: 2 x 1TB Intel DC P4500 NMVe SSDs, 256GB Intel 760p M.2 NVMe SSD Network: 2 x Gigabit Expansion: 6 x PCIe 3 slots on two risers, 2 x OCP mezzanine slots Power: 2 x 770W hot-plug PSUs Cooling: 8 x hot-plug fan modules Management: Tyan AS2500 with Gigabit Warranty: 3-year on site NBD

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