Supermicro's MicroCloud SYS-5038ML-H8TRF

Supermicro's 3U MicroCloud chassis is not a competitor for "advanced" micro servers such as AMD's SeaMicro SM15000 or HP's Moonshot. Advanced micro servers save power and keep management costs low due to an integrated fabric that routes networking and storage traffic very fast inside the box and only needs to be attached to the core switch via a few cables outside. You could say that the rack switch has been upgraded and integrated.

The Supermicro MicroCloud is a lot simpler. Only the power and cooling is shared among the nodes; there is no sophisticated integrated network or storage backplane. The MicroCloud still needs a separate switch and storage is pretty straightforward: each node has access to two disks.

Basically the MicroCloud is just a bunch of server nodes that share two redundant power supplies and cooling (4x 8 cm fans). As a result, it is a dense and inexpensive way to bundle eight (up to 24 in some SKUs) low-end servers. It is clearly targeted at the HPC and hyperscale datacenter where people want a "blade-like" server chassis but do not want to pay for features they rarely/never would use (e.g. centralized remote management/KVM, integrated switching, and SAN technology).

We've heard from several resellers that this chassis has been very successful, not in the least for being simple and affordable. Each node has a dual gigabit Intel i350 gigabit controller and one Ethernet interface for remote management; a KVM connector is also available. If you need more networking speed, one PCIe x8 slot is available.

HP Moonshot Low-End Server Building Blocks
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  • IBleedOrange - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    EETimes is wrong.
    Google "Intel Denverton"
  • beginner99 - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    Maybe it would be good to mention the X-Gene is made on a 40nm process at the start of the article. I read the article and think for myself that the X-Gene is crap and in the end you get the explanation. It's on 40 nm vs Atoms on Intel 22 nm. It's a huge difference and currently the article is a bit misleading eg. shining a bad light on X-Gene and ARM. (And I say this even though I always was a proponent of Intel Big cores in almost all server applications).
  • Stephen Barrett - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    If APM had a newer part to test then we would have tested it. XG2 is simply not out yet. So the fact that APM has their flagship SoC on an older process is not misleading... Its the facts. The currently available Intel parts have a process advantage.
  • warreo - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    Mentioning it at the start would be good from a technical disclosure standpoint, but I'm not sure for the purposes of this article it truly matters. The article is comparing what is currently available now from APM and Intel. Reality is Intel will likely have a significant process advantage for the foreseeable future, and if you wanted to see a like for like comparison on a process basis, then you'll probably need to wait 2-3 years for X-Gene to get on 22nm, meanwhile Intel will have moved on to 10nm.
  • CajunArson - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    The 40nm process is only really relevant when it comes to the power-consumption comparisons.
    A 28nm.. or 20nm or 16nm... part with the same cores at the same clockspeeds will register the exact same level of performance. The only difference will be that the smaller lithographic processes should provide that level of performance in a smaller power envelope.
  • JohanAnandtech - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    well, with so much time invested in an article, I always hope people will read the pages between page 1 and 18 too :-p. It is mentioned in the overview of the SoCs on page 5 and quite a few times at other pages too.
  • colinstu - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    what server is on the bottom of the first page?
  • JohanAnandtech - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    A very old MSI server :-). Just to show people what webfarms used before the micro server era.
  • Samus - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    I use the Xeon E3-1230v3 in desktop applications all the time. It's basically an i7 for the price of an i5.

    And a lot of IT dept dump them on eBay cheap when they upgrade their servers. They can be had well under $200 lightly used. The 80w TDP could theoretically have some drawbacks for boost time, but the real-world performance according to passmark elongated tests doesn't seem to show any difference between it's boost potential and that of an 88w i7-k

    Great CPU's.
  • Alone-in-the-net - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    In both your compilers, you need to specify the -march=native so the the compiler can optimize for the architecture you are running on, -o3 is not enough. This enables the compiler to use cpu specific commands.

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