8 socket servers

Article: Inside Barcelona: AMD's Next Generation
By: anonymous (anonymous.delete@this.email.cz), May 26, 2007 3:49 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Just my observation :

I am part of IT support for diverse universe of customers - Windows only machines , and from the considerable amount of machines that we are supporting less then 2% are 4 socket machines - and less then 0.5% of machines are 4x4(socket/cpu) servers - all Xeon MP Tulsa running some exotic business application. We aren't supporting even one ! 8 socket Windows based server.
OK we have some 4-5 4 socket machines running Xeon MP, and i faintly seem to remember few Pentium III 4 socket "rockets" but none of them are active anymore.
I encountered a truly 8 socket machine only two times - one was Opteron ESX Development server used by "insane Unix Guys" to test Windows clustering inside ESX - and boy did they have fun (me too) - it was truly perfect platform for simulation of how not to do the clustering ..., and the second one was P4 based, IBM X3 based i think, running some heavy DB... with everything that you can opt on that one - including some serious amount of memory.
As side note for the number of supported servers - its few thousands ... :)

And from i can see from my position - i personally don't see the 8 socket machines as the next big thing - at least not under Windows. All those precious 4 socket machines are running either DB which needs loads of memory, or some business application that i never heard before :) that seems to be able to load that particular server.

All around what i can see that people are migrating to blades - mainly 2 socket ones. 2 socket blade can run a lot these days, if its not enough or there is higher reliability requested - clustering of 2 socket systems. 4 socket one -> only if you need DB with a really lot of memory or you have application that can load all 4 sockets. Plus if it is 4 socket machine - all that i have seen come with a lot of bells - top bin cpu-s, large amounts of memory, RAID-s, Fibrechannels, multiple teamed NIC cards .... i don't remember seeing a base one configuration anywhere.
Simply nobody uses the base config - when its 4 socket its almost 99% time a rather serious machine which brings the Total Cost of machine into serious $$$.

So maybe the cost of platform will come down, the performance will go up, but under Windows for normal customer there is almost nothing that can run there with any significance - and as such machines come fully loaded the price will stay still insanely high.

So in niche markets the penetrations may go up but in mainstream i have my doubts whether there will by any penetration at all :)

Michael S (already5chosen@yahoo.com) on 5/23/07 wrote:
>Jose (no@teh.win) on 5/23/07 wrote:
>>Michael S (already5chosen@yahoo.com) on 5/17/07 wrote:
>>>Are you theorizing or do you really have first hand experience with these wonderful commodity 4-socket servers?
>>>I personally never even see one, but I'm not in the IT.
>>Start here: http://www.supermicro.com/Aplus/system/Tower/
>That's exactly what I am asking about. Are them any good?
>>Or, heck, are HP http://web.amd.com/en-us/partners/hp/server.aspx
>Sorry, HP DL585 is not commodity. It is a product of non-trivial in house engineering.
>and Sun http://web.amd.com/en-us/partners/sun/server.aspx
>Sun Fire V40z is commodity. I don't remember Sun having big success selling those. X4600 is not commodity.
>>The trouble with "commodity" 8 socket servers is simply the sheer real estate involved.
>>You can't fit eight sockets on a conventional motherboard, so you're looking at
>>daughter cards... and already you've walked away from "commodity." Now, there are
>>ways it *could* go (HTX slots so standardized single- or dual-socket daughter cards
>>become a commodity of sorts) but the industry likes to go its own way until the
>>vendors finally realize (again) the benefits of standardization. And the 8 socket
>>market will be small (but lucrative) enough that that may never happen.
>You are sort of making my point.
>I'd say the problem exists even with 4-way servers when you try to build then "commodity-way"
>i.e. with everything on a single motherboard.
>BTW, it is interesting that Supermicro machines are towers. IMO, 4-way "commodity"
>towers are more likely to be good then their 3U or 4U counterparts. However, towers
>are not fashionable in big IT organizations and small IT organizations rarely need 4-ways to start with.
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