The Intel Modular Server System
is a blade system
A blade server is a stripped down server computer with a modular design optimized to minimize the use of physical space and energy. Whereas a standard rack-mount server can function with a power cord and network cable, blade servers have many components removed to save space, minimize power...
manufactured by Intel Corporation
Intel Corporation is an American multinational semiconductor chip maker corporation headquartered in Santa Clara, California, United States and the world's largest semiconductor chip maker, based on revenue. It is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most...
, which uses Intel’s own motherboards and processors. The Intel Modular Server System consists of an Intel Modular Server Chassis, up to six diskless Compute Blades, an integrated storage area network
A storage area network is a dedicated network that provides access to consolidated, block level data storage. SANs are primarily used to make storage devices, such as disk arrays, tape libraries, and optical jukeboxes, accessible to servers so that the devices appear like locally attached devices...
(SAN), and three to five Service Modules. The system was formerly announced in January, 2008. The server is aimed at small to medium businesses with "50 to 300 employees".
Intel Modular Server Chassis
The Modular Server Chassis comes in two versions; the MFSYS25 and MFSYS35. The key difference between these two versions is that the MFSYS25’s integrated hard disk drive (HDD) bay accommodates fourteen 2.5” HDDs, while the MFSYS35’s integrated HDD bay accommodates six 3.5” HDDs. Both versions have two Main Fan Modules, six Compute Blade bays, five Service Module slots, and up to four power supply units in an N+1 configuration
N+1 redundancy is a form of resilience that ensures system availability in the event of component failure.Components have at least one independent backup component . The level of resilience is referred to as active/passive or standby as backup components do not actively participate within the...
There are three types of Service Modules used in the Intel Modular Server System; the Storage Control Module, the Ethernet Switch Module, and the Chassis Management Module. An Intel Modular Server Chassis accommodates one Chassis Management Module, up to two Storage Control Modules, and up to two Ethernet Switch Modules. The addition of a second Ethernet Switch Module and/or Storage Control Module permits high availability and load balancing.
The Chassis Management Module is used to manage the Intel Modular Server Chassis' integrated SAN, the other two to four Service Modules, and the Compute Blades.
The Storage Control Module supports Intel Matrix RAID
RAID is a storage technology that combines multiple disk drive components into a logical unit...
, and manages the RAID partitioning of the HDDs in the integrated HDD bay; as well as the creation, assignment, replication and destruction of volumes on the HDDs’ partitions.
The Ethernet Switch Module is a managed Gigabit Ethernet
Gigabit Ethernet is a term describing various technologies for transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of a gigabit per second , as defined by the IEEE 802.3-2008 standard. It came into use beginning in 1999, gradually supplanting Fast Ethernet in wired local networks where it performed...
switch which provides the installed Compute Blades with connectivity to each other and to external Ethernet networks.
There are two types of Compute Blade which can be used, in any combination, in the Intel Modular Server Enclosure ; the MFS5000SI and the MFS5520VI. Both Compute Modules are dual-socket systems, which each have an integrated SAS HBA (for accessing volumes on the Integrated SAN), an integrated Gigabit Ethernet port, and integrated graphics.
The Compute Blades are referred to as ‘’Compute Modules’’ in Intel literature. The MFS5000SI Compute Blade uses up to two Intel Xeon 5100, 5200, 5300 or 5400 processors; and supports up to 32GB of RAM, running at either 1066MHz or 1333MHz. The MFS5520VI Compute Blade uses up to two Intel Xeon 5500 or 5600 processors; and supports up to 192GB of RAM running at 800MHz, 1066MHz or 1333MHz (note that 1333MHz is supported only with 8GB or smaller DIMMs).
The diskless nature of the Compute Blades permits a failed Compute Blade to be easily ‘’swapped out’’ (removed and replaced with another Compute Blade), and have the failed Compute Blade’s volume(s) simply re-assigned to the replacement Compute Blade . This provides for increased uptime in a production environment.
Integrated Storage Area Network
The integrated SAN consists of the HDD Module (which accommodates up to fourteen 2.5” HDDs in the MFSYS25 Chassis, and up to six 3.5” HDDs in the MFSYS35 chassis) and the Storage Control Module(s). Each Compute Blade accesses volume(s) which are assigned to it by connecting to the Storage Control Module(s) through its integrated SAS HBA.