Last Tuesday IBM made two major announcements. The first was the unveiling of the new NeXtScale nx360 m4 server. This represents the latest addition to IBM's x86 range. The second announcement was the release of the x3650 M4 HD. This represents a new addition to the company’s line of storage arrays.
The NeXtScale nx360 m4 (shown in Figure A) is a half width, 1U size server. Processing power is provided by two Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 CPUs. The server supports Ethernet, fibre channel, and InfiniBand networks. In terms of Ethernet, 1GBe comes as standard on the model; it is upgradeable to 10Gbe. Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi), and Windows Server are the supported operating systems.
The nx360 m4 is slated for release in October 2013. The half width size and the capacity to cram more units into a rack space could prove attractive in allowing companies to grow server infrastructure faster without a substantial impact on the data centre footprint.
IBM’s second announcement was a new storage unit called the x3650 M4 HD. Processing power for the x3650 M4 HD is provided by one or two twelve core intel Xeon E5-2600 V2 CPUs. The x3650 M4 HD can support a variety of drives. For example, sixteen HDDs and sixteen SSDs can be installed in the x3650 (as shown in Figure C).
IBM’s NeXtScale system is competing against offerings from HP and Dell that are already on the market. One of the clear areas where a NeXtScale system could be used in is in cloud computing. Whether this latest offering from IBM can make inroads into the existing market remains to be seen.
Scott Reeves has worked for Hewlett Packard on HP-UX servers and SANs, and has worked in similar areas in the past at IBM. Currently he works as an independent IT consultant, specializing in Wi-Fi networks and SANs.