IBM improves density of new Flex System servers

IBM's new servers are based on a dual-chip design, which doubles the number of CPUs in a slot

IBM has introduced x86 and Power processors with a new dual-chip server module that will help speed the deployment of cloud and virtualized environments.

The Flex System servers, announced Tuesday, are based on a new board design in which two blade-type motherboards are combined into one server package, which can then be slotted into one socket. That effectively doubles the processors, memory, storage and other hardware resources available per socket.

As a result, a server chassis will carry more processing power and the increased density will help deploy more virtual machines in a denser space, while better utilizing server resources, said Jeff Howard, vice president of PureFlex and Flex systems at IBM.

More intense workloads related to analytics and databases are being transferred to the cloud and the new servers will also help in a more efficient cloud deployment, Howard said, adding that virtualization is one the cloud's "foundational elements."

The new Flex System X222, which runs on an x86 processor, will have a multichip module in which each socket will be able to handle two Intel Xeon E5-2400 processors. There are 14 slots in a 10U rack chassis and the new design will be able to deliver the processing power of 28 servers, Howard said. Each server will support up to 384GB of memory and also have slots for solid-state drive storage.

Each 10U chassis with Flex X222 servers will be able to deploy 2,800 Windows virtual machines simultaneously, Howard said. The server will be available in September starting at US$6,669.

Also announced was the new Flex System P270, which will have two six-core Power 7+ chips in a single package. Like the X222, the P270 server will fit into a 10U chassis and is targeted at database, analytics and other applications that require strong single-threaded performance. The chips will run at speeds of either 3.1GHz or 3.4GHz.

Each server with two six-core chips will have 120MB L3 cache and support up to 512GB of memory. The server also has SSD slots, Ethernet and Fibre Channel. The P270 will be priced starting at $19,343 and be available in September.

The company also upgraded existing Flex System p460 with the latest eight-core Power 7+ chips running at a clock speed of 4.1GHz. The server is targeted at high-end tasks such as databases and analytics.

The p460 will support up to four processors, 32 cores and 128 threads to maximize simultaneous execution of applications, and have up to 512GB of memory. The p460 is priced starting at $32,307 and will also be available in September.

IBM also announced a Flex System Manager, which will help manage servers and the deployment of virtual machines in an IT installation from a single console. IT managers will be able to access the management console from iOS, Android of BlackBerry mobile devices, IBM said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

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