By Francis Chu  |  Posted 2004-11-01 Print this article Print

Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp.s Primergy BX600 offers enterprise shops a flexible, dependable blade system designed for multitier applications. Although the BX600 blade system, which shipped in September, does not offer the highest blade density or the latest Intel Corp. processors available, eWEEK Labs tests show that this blade system has impressive built-in redundancy and solid management features.

The Primergy BX600 blade server chassis stands 7U (10.75 inches) high and can support as many as 10 two-way blades or five four-way blades. Two-way blades take up one slot and four-way blades take two of the 10 slots available. The higher-density two-way blades are well-suited for front-end applications; the four-way blades are good for midtier or for mission-critical applications.

The Primergy BX600 is not as dense as competing systems from Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM and does not yet support Intels state-of-the-art EM64T processors and chip sets. However, the Primergy blade system has strong redundancy features, a well-designed modular chassis and solid management tools. It is also priced competitively, at less than $18,000; additional four-way blades cost about $8,500.

Click here to read Labs review of three blade systems, including IBMs BladeCenter and HPs ProLiant BL p-Class. The back of the Primergy chassis houses the cooling, power and I/O components. Two management blades are hot-swappable from the rear of the chassis and are configured in a master/slave setup for better availability.

The chassis can also support two Gigabit Ethernet switches or pass-through blades for network connectivity. There are also two bays for Fibre Channel pass-through blades. The Primergy doesnt yet offer custom Fibre Channel switch modules for the chassis.

Four hot-plug-redundant 1200W power supplies provide power to the blade servers, and two large fan cages provide cooling for the system. The fans are also redundant and hot-swappable, but to ensure proper cooling, the system will gracefully shut down if a failed fan cage is not replaced within a short time.

The Primergy blades are similar in design to competitors blades, using Intels dual-processor and multiprocessor Xeons and Broadcom Corp.s ServerWorks chip sets. All Primergy blades support dual hot-swap SCSI hard drives with an embedded SCSI controller supporting RAID 0 or RAID 1.

The Primergy blade system we tested is priced at approximately $54,600 and comes with a single four-way blade and two two-way blades. The $18,000 entry configuration includes the chassis and a four-way blade. The four-way blade includes 3GHz Xeon MP processors, 4GB of error-correcting code memory, double-data-rate synchronous dynamic RAM, two Ultra320 hot-plug hard drives and four Gigabit Ethernet channels.

The two-way blades we tested were outfitted with dual 2.8GHz Xeon DP processors, 4GB of memory, dual hot-swappable hard drives and dual Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Local system management is provided via the management blade, and we quickly accessed system status and configuration using a standard Web browser.

The ServerView management interface is easy to use and provides a graphic representation of the blade platform. We quickly drilled down to monitor specific hardware components on the blades and got detailed information such as CPU and memory usage.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at francis_chu@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Infrastructure Center at http://infrastructure.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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