Intel x86 Hi-End Server Features - HP Superdome X System

    The Hewlett-Packard project, code-named “Dragonhawk,” bore fruit in the form of the launch of the Superdome 2 on Intel processors. At the same time, all the main “features” of Hi-End servers have moved to a new system, and if we add to this functionality a developed ecosystem of software and hardware capabilities of Intel processors, we get a very interesting solution that is quite competitive with such giants of the Hi-End server market as IBM Power, Fujitsu SPARC64, Oracle SPARC M6. HP engineers have even managed to "compare" the new system with its closest rivals. Under cat are brief conclusions of this comparison.

    The Superdome X hardware is very similar to the HP c7000 chassis blade, which is not at all surprising. It can be assumed that in this case, HP engineers proceeded from the judgment that the simpler, the better and more reliable. After all, all the sores and jambs of the HP blade systems were corrected and taken into account on the p-Class Blades back in the days of COMPAQ. Thus, relying on a reliable and proven blade platform, HP kills two birds with one stone - it builds a new system based on a turnkey solution for connecting network interconnects, power supplies, fans and a cooling system, chassis control, etc., and also continues to development of the c-Class blade system.

    So, if you look at Figure 1, you can see that the Superdome X is slightly higher than the c7000 and has a height of 18U, has twice as many power supplies and 1.5 times the cooling fans. The number of interconnects remained unchanged, because Superdome X inherited the I / O subsystem from c7000 with its mezzanines and port spread across the switches. The switches can be installed 8 pieces and currently supports 1/10 / 40Gbps Ethernet and 8 / 16Gbps Fiber Channel. In the near future, it is planned to add Infiniband and FCoE, the absence of which is most likely due to HP policy, because these protocols have long been implemented in the c7000.

    Up to 8 server blades are installed from the front of the Superdome X chassis, which in essence are not separate servers, but processor modules that have two sockets for the Xeon E7 v2 processor, 48 memory slots and three mezzanine slots (1 x8, 2 x16 PCIe gen3) Two FlexLOM slots with installed 10Gbps Ethernet adapters. Each blade can be glued with each other into a single server, thus obtaining a server with four, six, eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen processors.

    You can create any number of such aggregated servers (nPar) without naturally exceeding (for now) the resources of one chassis. Each nPar is naturally electrically isolated from each other. The modules that allow this “gluing” are located at the back of the chassis (crossbar modules), and this process is controlled through the built-in web server Onboard Administrator, known to us from the c7000 chassis, of course, the Onboard Administrator firmware for Superdome X differs from the firmware for the blade chassis c7000.

    Figure 1 SuperdomeX Appearance

    Figure 2 BL920s Blade

    Currently, only Linux is supported as the operating system in the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux variants. You can use any hypervisor supported by these distributions (Xen, KVM, etc.) as an engine for creating virtual machines. VmWare support is still in doubt.

    Naturally, within the framework of these operating systems, functionality became available that was previously inherent only to corporate UNIX. So, for example, a server in Superdome X survives when the
    or memory modules crashes /ContentDetails.aspx?ID=4407

    The links above show small videos where these types of errors are played on real equipment.

    The Superdome X system is already available for order through the MUK company and, at a cost, shows its best side with respect to its competitors. So, for example, an Oracle project implemented on Superdome X is cheaper than its competitors due to a successful licensing policy for Intel processors.

    Whoever is interested in this system can see the Hewlett-Packard webinar recording at


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