IT Pro Verdict
Xeon 7500 systems are being offered as a more cost-effective alternative to RISC systems and Fujitsu’s new RX600 S5 scores very well for value. Dell’s R910 has more features aimed at virtualisation but Fujitsu’s expansion potential is the best of all these types of systems we’ve seen so far. The Primergy is also very well designed and built and offers high levels of redundancy.
Since Intel's launch of its Xeon 6500 and 7500 processors in March we've brought you exclusive reviews of Dell's and IBM's latest rack server solutions and next up is Fujitsu's Primergy RX600 S5. We were impressed with Dell's PowerEdge R910 and IBM's System x3850 X5 for a number of different reasons and in another exclusive review we see what's special about the RX600 S5.
No surprises that Fujitsu has its eye on the lucrative UNIX server market as this is precisely where Intel wants its new Xeons to go in as replacements for expensive and proprietary RISC based systems. Traditionally, these have offered high levels of fault tolerance but Intel's new RAS (reliability, availability and serviceability) features make Xeon 7500 servers highly cost-effective alternatives.
Standing at 4U, the RX600 S5 is the same height as the Dell and IBM servers but offers an unusually high internal expansion potential. The R910 and x3850 both offer seven PCI-e 2.0 slots but Fujitsu pushes the count up to 10. You get a good mixture of slot speeds including two that support hot-swap but due to the positioning of other internal components the maximum size card supported is three-quarter length.
Storage potential is on a par with IBM as the front panel also has room for up to eight hot-swap SFF drives and Fujitsu offers a choice of SATA, 6Gb/sec SAS and SSDs. Dell wins out in this department as the R910 can start with four SFF drives and be expanded up to sixteen.
A fine choice of RAID options are on Fujitsu's menu as an 8-port SAS controller is provided as standard. This supports the latest 6Gb/sec SAS drives and comes with 512MB of cache memory and a battery backup pack. Usefully, it gets its own dedicated slot at the rear so leaving all PCI-e slots up for grabs.
Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.
Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.