Fujitsu Server Primergy RX2530 M4 review: Excellent hardware credentials
A beautifully built Xeon Scalable rack server
Fujitsu may not have the same high profile as Dell EMC and HPE in the rack server market, but you can always count on its Primergy family to deliver great design and quality at a good price. And so it is with the RX2530 M4: this 1U rack server is a well-built and powerful package offering a high processing density.
Targeting a range of workloads including virtualization, scale-out, small databases and HPC, the server packs a lot in with support for dual Xeon Scalable CPUs up to the mighty 28-core Platinums. Specify 'M'-designated CPUs and the server's 24 DIMM slots allow you to push memory capacity to a full 3TB of 3DS DDR4 as well.
Storage options look good; the chassis can handle up to 10 SFF drives or high-performance PCIe NMVe SSDs. Fujitsu offers plenty of RAID controller choices and with four free PCI-e slots, there's lots of room to expand.
Prices start as low as 1,300 which gets you out of the starting blocks with a single 2.1GHz 8-core Silver 4110 CPU and 16GB of DDR4, to which you can add your choice of storage. Our review server has a street price of 12,000 and delivers a very powerful system for the price, which includes dual 3GHz 12-core Gold 6136 CPUs, a meaty 192GB of 2,666MHz DDR4 memory, two 800W hot-plug PSUs and a bunch of SSDs.
Fujitsu Server Primergy RX2530 M4: Design
The chassis is solidly built and removing the lid confirms our views on Fujitsu's quality with an interior which is very well designed. Cable-related clutter is minimal and all components are easily accessible for routine maintenance and upgrades.
Fujitsu's Cool-Safe technology uses a honey-comb grill design to improve airflow and the Advanced Thermal Design (ATD) option allows the server to run in higher ambient temperatures in data centres. Fujitsu also offers a liquid cooling kit which is available on special request.
Cooling is handled by a bank of eight hot-plug dual-rotor fan modules behind the drive backplane. Airflow is also aided by a solid transparent air shroud covering the CPU sockets and memory slots.
Power choices are plentiful as along with the dual 800W Platinum PSUs in our server, Fujitsu offers 450W, 1200W and 1300W versions. Overall power consumption for our system was good with it drawing only 82W in idle and peaking at 442W with both Gold CPUs under a 100% load.
Fujitsu's DynamicLOM OCP network adapters avoid using any of the PCI-e slots, instead snapping into a proprietary connector on the motherboard. High-speed networking is on the cards as along with quad-port Gigabit, Fujitsu offers dual-port copper and fibre 10GbE adapters and a quad-port fibre 10GbE version.
Fujitsu Server Primergy RX2530 M4: Management
For remote monitoring, the server sports Fujitsu's embedded iRMC S5 controller and dedicated Gigabit port. It isn't as clever as HPE's iLO5 or Dell EMC's iDRAC9, but its web console offers good access security and plenty of information about critical components.
It provides a complete breakdown of power consumption for key components plus detailed event logs and alerting facilities. As with HPE and Dell EMC, you'll need to upgrade the iRMC S5 with an advanced license for full OS remote control, virtual media services and video capture.
The iRMC firmware supports Fujitsu's eLCM (embedded Lifecycle Management) feature which is licensed separately. This automates firmware updates and can use the motherboard's microSD slot to store local ISO images for booting the server from.
Fujitsu advised us some time ago that it was developing a new data centre management software product but this still hasn't materialised. Consequently, you're stuck with the old ServerView Suite for monitoring multiple servers and this pensionable package simply can't compete with HPE's OneView or Dell EMC's OpenManage Enterprise.
Fujitsu Server Primergy RX2530 M4: Storage
Base systems start with a pair of four-port embedded SATA connectors on the motherboard. This supports four LFF or up to eight SFF SATA drives but the Intel C624 chipset only offers mirrors and stripes.
If you start with a four-drive SFF backplane, you can order an upgrade kit to push this to eight drives where the second backplane is connected to the spare SATA port on the motherboard. If you don't need the front operator panel with optical drive, VGA and USB 3 ports, you can order the system with a 10-drive SFF backplane and plug-in SAS expander.
For more performance and array choice you can add one of Fujitsu's PRAID PCI-e cards which bring 12Gb/sec SAS3 support into the storage equation. These start with the CP400i card which adds RAID5 and 50 arrays while the EP420i brings RAID6 to the mix, plus 2GB of cache memory.
NMVe SSD support for four devices requires either a PRAID EP500i series RAID card or Fujitsu's PCI-e Retimer controller card which provides pass-through services. You can have 10 NVMe SSDs which requires a special backplane with 10 x OcuLink connectors and dual Retimer cards
Along with the embedded microSD card slot, the server has a pair of M.2 SATA SSD slots which support card lengths up to 110mm. The review system came populated with dual 150GB modules which could be used to load an embedded hypervisor and protect it with a mirrored array.
Fujitsu Server Primergy RX2530 M4: Verdict
Fujitsu's remote server management software sorely needs updating but there's no denying this rack server's excellent hardware credentials. The Server Primergy RX2530 M4 offers businesses a low-profile, powerful Xeon Scalable platform with plenty of room to grow and the best build quality.
Dated remote management software but the sleek and affordable RX2530 M4 has the power to handle a wide range of business workloads with room to grow
Chassis: 1U rack
CPU: 2 x 3GHz 12-core Xeon Scalable Gold 6136
Memory: 192GB 2,666MHz ECC DDR4 RDIMM (max 3TB)
Storage bays: 8 x SFF hot-swap (max 10), 2 x M.2 SATA SSD
RAID: Intel C624
Array support: RAID0, 1
Storage included: 2 x 240GB Intel S3520 SATA SSD, 2 x 150GB Intel S3520 M.2 SATA SSD
Network: 2 x Gigabit
Expansion: 4 x PCI-e 3.0 slots
Power: 2 x 800W 80+ Platinum hot-swap PSUs
Cooling: 8 x hot-plug fans
Management: Fujitsu iRMC S5 Standard with Gigabit
Warranty: 3yr on-site NBD
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