As cloud-computing take-up drives the industry towards high-density data centres, server manufacturers have focused on building rack-mounted servers that pack more compute power into less space.
This has seen cloud-computing providers and large enterprises splurging on new commodity and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) servers. No wonder IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker found that worldwide server market revenues increased 37.7 per cent year-on-year through the third quarter of 2018.
While this level of revenue growth signals strong growth among cloud service providers and large enterprises, what about small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – which are generally focused more on reliable systems to run on-premises applications in everyday environments such as restaurants, retail shops, and shop-floor offices?
Designed for temperature-controlled, high-density cloud data centres, such systems have little to offer SMEs that are dealing with computing in the real world – where space and power restrictions have typically imposed limits on capacity, performance, and features.
Fujitsu has been working to fill this price-performance gap with a stand-alone server that offers the power of the data centre, in a form factor that suits the needs of SMEs. And with the release of the PRIMERGY TX1320 M4 server, the computing giant believes it has found the sweet spot.
Power where it’s needed...
The PRIMERGY TX1320 M4 supports the latest CPU technologies with fast 2666MT/s DDR4 RAM and 16-lane PCIe Gen 3.0 backplane supporting Intel Xeon E series processors built around the Coffee Lake (E-2100) architecture.
These new-generation CPUs have boosted performance density by 50 per cent, offering up to 6 CPU cores and higher overall processing power to match.
This, in turn, pushes mid-range server performance to new heights – allowing Fujitsu to pack serious compute power into a whisper-quiet server that, at just 40cm x 34cm x 10cm, is small enough to stay out of the way even in busy, cluttered environments.
“Despite being a small form-factor server, the TX1320 M4 has the features and functionality of physically larger servers,” Fujitsu Australia Limited solution architect, Armen Jihanian, said.
“It’s designed for a small office/branch office type environment, where it might be sitting under a desk in a branch office or under the counter in a restaurant.”
Despite its diminutive size, the PRIMERGY TX1320 M4 has enough space to integrate a considerable amount of storage.
Its advanced memory controller takes full advantage of the lightning-fast DDR4 RAM, while the chassis has capacity for up to 8 hot-swap hard drives and a full range of RAID configurations.
Support for up to 4 NVMe as well as up to two M.2 SSD drives is included, and the latter can be bootable to allow quick starting of Windows, Linux, and VMware environments.
... and the features SMEs deserve
Bringing data centre-class technologies into the branch office is about much more than solid technical specs. Fujitsu has designed the PRIMERGY TX1320 M4 to be far more resilient, with temperature and fault-tolerant design that far exceeds the capabilities of data-centre equipment.
Various configurations of the PRIMERGY TX1320 M4 server can, for example, operate reliably in ambient temperatures of 40°C and 45°C – more than twice the temperature at which most data centres are kept. This allows for continuous operation even in warm climates, or in small branch offices where power or air-conditioning failures might normally cause regular service interruptions.
To reduce the potential for interruptions, the unit also has space for a redundant power supply – or a built-in battery backup that can be installed inside the server chassis. That option ensures that even power outages in remote sites won’t bring the server down without first allowing time for an orderly shutdown.
Such an event will immediately raise alarms at the company’s central monitoring site, thanks to advanced out-of-band (OOB) remote-management capabilities that allow remote management using Fujitsu’s ServerView integrated Remote Management Controller iRMC S4, which is included with the system.
iRMC enables lights-out operation with routine monitoring and maintenance through a virtual KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) connection and also integrates features such as video capturing; monitoring of internal hard drives, SSDs, and RAID configurations; and support for the open-standard common information model (CIM) via the management LAN connection.
“Even if you don’t have IT staff in-house or at the location, anyone who is looking after the environment can run tasks remotely,” Jihanian said. “You can do just about anything short of physically removing hard drives or adding hardware.”
“It is a fully-featured server in a very small package – and it will suit any customer that just needs a workhorse server in the corner that is quiet, and can withstand harsh environmental conditions.”