A highly affordable single-socket Xeon Scalable rack server that doesn't try to gouge you on the storageDave Mitchell March 2018 |
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Servers based on Intel's Xeon Scalable CPUs can be pricey - but Broadberry's CyberServe Xeon SP1-208S is great value. Powered by an eight-core 2.1GHz Xeon Silver 4110, this innovative 2U rack server offers heaps of expansion and storage potential, yet comes with a price tag that's just the right side of two grand.
There's just one compromise to note: the Supermicro X11SPL-F motherboard is of the single socket variety, so if you want to add a second CPU down the line, you're out of luck. However, the spacious interior allows plenty of airflow, and supports TDPs up to 165W - so you could upgrade the supplied CPU for a beefier model, perhaps even from the Gold range.
It comes with a healthy 32GB of DDR4 RAM, in the form of two 16GB modifies. There are eight slots in total, so if you really need to max out the memory, it's easy (albeit expensive) to get to the CPU's maximum 768GB using 64GB and 128GB DIMMs. Just remember that the Silver 4110 restricts memory speeds to 2,400MHz.
The motherboard also features an embedded M.2 SATA SSD slot, although sadly there's no second slot to allow mirroring. For this reason, Broadberry has sensibly left the slot empty, instead providing a mirrored pair of 480GB Intel S4500 SATA SSDs for your operating system.
This leaves six hot-swap bays available, with drive carriers included. All bays are controlled by the Intel C621 chipset, which incorporates Intel's Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (RSTe) RAID controller. Stripes, mirrors and RAIDS arrays are all available, and can all be managed via Intel's Windows utility, which provides a status view of all arrays and includes various alerting facilities for when errors are detected.
One thing we love about the CyberServe is the freedom to install your own drives - something that would invalidate the warranty on certain other servers. For testing purposes, we hot-plugged three loTB Seagate SATA drives. At once, they popped up in the RSTe utility, ready to be combined into a RAID array.
Elsewhere, the motherboard also provides dual embedded Gigabit network ports - and there's plenty of room to expand further, via seven free PCI Express slots.
Power redundancy is another strength, with dual hotplug 740W PSUs included in the price. These should be more than capable of handling whatever you throw at the server: in our tests, the whole system drew just 88W in idle, and peaked at a mere 105W under extreme load.
For remote management, the embedded IPMI chip has a dedicated network port, and its web console offers plenty of useful data about critical components. You can power the server up and down or reset it remotely, view sensor data for the CPUs, memory, fans and voltages and link their readings to email alerts. You even get full KVM remote control and virtual media services as standard -something that all the blue chips charge for as an optional upgrade. The iKVM remote console uses HTML5, so you should have no problem accessing it from your browser of choice.
On top of this, you can also take advantage of Supermicro's free SuperDoctor 5 software, which uses the local Windows SNMP agent to monitor the server. This presents a cheerful web console with coloured graphs and speedo dials for fans, temperatures and voltages plus a detailed hardware inventory, with options to issue email alerts and remote power controls.
The single CPU socket means that Broadberry's CyberServe Xeon SP1-2o 8S won't suit the most demanding application-server roles. But for cash-strapped SMBs it's an extremely persuasive deal - especially since Broadberry allows you to use your own drives.