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Supermicro unveils an insanely fast, insanely thin storage server

News Analysis
Sep 13, 20182 mins
Data CenterServers

Supermicro's all-SSD unit is pizza box-thin but has massive capacity and throughput.

supermicro 1029p nmr36l angle
Credit: Supermicro

You want fast? Supermicro has introduced a new 1U server filled with Samsung-made NF1 SSD drives with capacity as high as 576TB and throughput of up 20GB/sec and 10 million IOPS.

By comparison, a server with 15,000 RPM SAS hard disks can manage about 175-210 IOPS.

There are other devices capable of 10 million IOPS, such as the EMC DSSD D5, but that was a massive 5U unit and has since been discontinued. The server uses Samsung’s NF1 form-factor (formerly known as NGSFF), which look like very large M.2 drives and come with two rows of NAND flash chips, maximizing capacity. Samsung has already shown off the drives in 8TB and 16TB capacities.

The new Supermicro product, the SSG-1029P-NMR36L, has 36 18TB NF1 drives in its 1U chassis, doubling the capacity of a model introduced in January with 288TB. The server also comes with two 28-core Xeon SP processors and holds up to 3TB of memory in 24 DIMM slots and dual 16-lane PCIe network cards.

The NF1 drives are all front-loaded and hot-swappable using the NVMe protocol for high-capacity network storage and very low latency performance. The optimized power profile of the fully hot-swap-capable NF1 devices means more processing power can be reserved to drive IO with the fastest CPU and memory available.

“At Supermicro, we consistently offer our customers early access to the very latest and best technologies,” said Charles Liang, president and CEO of Supermicro, in a statement. “Our 1U NF1 storage server features the most power-efficient, next-generation flash technology with the highest storage density and best IOPS performance. This provides a real time-to-value competitive advantage for users with data-intensive workloads like big data, autonomous driving, AI, and HPC applications.”

Supermicro’s NF1 has same ruler design as Intel’s, but smaller

The NF1 follows the “ruler” design Intel introduced about a year ago. Intel said its ruler drives would enable 1PB of raw flash in a 1U server using 32 slots, like the Supermicro device. However, Samsung’s ruler is much shorter than Intel’s, which means it will take up less room in the server. That could be an advantage for Samsung as it and Intel jostle for customers.

The SSG-1029P-NMR36L server is available now. Supermicro is targeting IOPS-intensive storage applications, MySQL and Cassandra-type databases, hyperconverged infrastructure nodes, and other scale-out architecture applications.

Andy Patrizio is a freelance journalist based in southern California who has covered the computer industry for 20 years and has built every x86 PC he’s ever owned, laptops not included.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ITworld, Network World, its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.