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Cons And Conclusion

Intel’s 24-Core, 14-Drive Modular Server Reviewed

The MFSYS25 does have some drawbacks as well.

Lack of Power Down functionality on the MFSYS25 chassis:

  • No power switches on the chassis–The only way to completely shut the chassis down is by unplugging it.
  • No remote shut down–It would have been nice to have a remote shutdown option in the Modular Server Control user interface for the chassis, otherwise you have to be physically behind the MFSYS25 to shut it down.

No redundancy for the management module:

  • Since there’s a single NIC on the management module, losing the network connection to the chassis would prevent an admin from being able to manage the chassis remotely.

No built-in LED information panel on the front of the chassis that would provide quick stats about the server:

  • Because of the lack of physical status monitors on the MFSYS25, you have to log into a computer to see how the chassis is doing.  The built-in LED lights can only give you so much information.

LUN-sharing feature activation:

  • Customers shouldn’t have to pay extra for what is a standard SAN feature. 


The MFSYS25 is a great machine for a small- to medium-sized business. It has a great management tool, solid architecture, and built-in reliability that definitely make taking care of this machine a one-person job. 

As a remote server, I’m not sure it’s completely ready. It’s missing a couple of remote features that I’d like to see added before sticking the modular server in that little office out in the boonies. Some convenient features like remote chassis shutdown/restart, and additional operating system diagnostics would have added to the KVM and remote-hardware-management-features.

A fully loaded MFSYS25 chassis runs around $28,000. More on Intel Modular Servers

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  • 4 Hide
    kevikom , January 30, 2009 6:06 AM
    This is not a new concept. HP & IBM already have Blade servers. HP has one that is 6U and is modular. You can put up to 64 cores in it. Maybe Tom's could compare all of the blade chassis.
  • 4 Hide
    kevikom , January 30, 2009 6:08 AM
    Also I did not see any pricing on this. Did i miss it somewhere???
  • 0 Hide
    sepuko , January 30, 2009 10:33 AM
    Are the blades in IBM's and HP's solutions having to carry hard drives to operate? Or are you talking of certain model or what are you talking about anyway I'm lost in your general comparison. "They are not new cause those guys have had something similar/the concept is old."
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 30, 2009 11:04 AM
    Why isn't the poor network performance addressed as a con? No GigE interface should be producing results at FastE levels, ever.
  • 1 Hide
    nukemaster , January 30, 2009 11:35 AM
    So, When you gonna start folding on it :p 

    Did you contact Intel about that network thing. There network cards are normally top end. That has to be a bug.

    You should have tried to render 3d images on it. It should be able to flex some muscles there.
  • 2 Hide
    MonsterCookie , January 30, 2009 12:39 PM
    Now frankly, this is NOT a computational server, and i would bet 30% of the price of this thing, that the product will be way overpriced and one could buid the same thing from normal 1U servers, like Supermicro 1U Twin.
    The nodes themselves are fine, because the CPU-s are fast. The problem is the build in Gigabit LAN, which is jut too slow (neither the troughput nor the latency of the GLan was not ment for these pourposes).
    In a real cumputational server the CPU-s should be directly interconnected with something like Hyper-Transport, or the separate nodes should communicate trough build-in Infiniband cards. The MINIMUM nowadays for a computational cluster would be 10G LAN buid in, and some software tool which can reduce the TCP/IP overhead and decrease the latency.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 30, 2009 1:39 PM
    less its a typo the bench marked older AMD opterons. the AMD opteron 200s are based off the 939 socket(i think) which is ddr1 ecc. so no way would it stack up to the intel.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 30, 2009 2:31 PM
    The server could be used as a Oracle RAC cluster. But as noted you really want better interconnects than 1gb Ethernet. And I suspect from the setup it makes a fare VM engine.
  • 1 Hide
    ghyatt , January 30, 2009 4:29 PM
    I priced a full chassis out for a client, and it was under 20k...
  • 0 Hide
    navvara , January 30, 2009 4:44 PM
    It can't be under 20K.

    I reallty want to know what the price of this server is.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 30, 2009 4:57 PM
    Actually it is under $20k for a fully confgured system with 6 blades - i priced it up online. You can push it a bit higher than this if you go for very high end memory (16GB+) and top bin processors but for most the fully loaded config would come in around $20k. It's very well priced.
  • 1 Hide
    kittle , January 30, 2009 5:40 PM
    The chassis for your client was under 20k... np

    but to get one IDENTICAL to what was tested in this article - whats that cost? I would think "price as tested" would be a standard data point.

    Also - the disk i/o graphs are way to small to read without a lot of extra mouse clicks, and even then i get "error on page" when trying to see the full rez version. Makes all that work you spent gathering the disk benchmarks rather useless if people cant read them.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 30, 2009 5:51 PM
    the price as tested in the article is way less than $20k. they only had 3 compute modules and non redundant SAN or Switch. Their configuration would cost around $15k - seriously just go and price it up online - search MFSSYS25 and MFS5000SI
  • 3 Hide
    asburye , January 30, 2009 8:38 PM
    I have one sitting here on my desk with 6 compute modules, 2 Ethernet switches, 2 Controller modules, 4 power supplies, and 14-143GB/10k SAS drives. The 6 compute modules all have 16GB RAM, 2-Xeon 5420's each and 4 of them have the extra HBA card as well, our price was < $25,000 with everything including shipping and tax. The Shared LUN Key is about $400. We bought ours about 2 months ago.
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , January 30, 2009 10:23 PM
    nukemasterSo, When you gonna start folding on it Did you contact Intel about that network thing. There network cards are normally top end. That has to be a bug.You should have tried to render 3d images on it. It should be able to flex some muscles there.

    Nahhh... you don't run F@H on CPUs any more ;) 
    You run it on GPUs! CUDA FTW! :p 
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , January 31, 2009 12:56 AM
    yeah, thats true. CUDA kills in folding.
  • 0 Hide
    JAU , January 31, 2009 1:22 AM
    Thanks for the comments/suggestions/questions everyone. Your input is appreciated and will be applied to future reviews.

    We're addressing the issue with the network test results. - julio
  • 2 Hide
    Area51 , January 31, 2009 3:09 AM
    This is the only solution that I can think of that has the integrated SAN solution. None of the OEM's (Dell, HP, IBM) can do that in their solution as of yet. Also if you configure the CPU's with L5430's this becomes the perfect VMware box.
    As far as power switch... Remember that in a datacenter enviornment you do not turn off the chassis. there is less chance of accidental shutdown if there is no power switch on the main circuit. This is 6 servers network switch, and a SAn solution in-one you do not want a kill switch. that is why no OEM ever puts a power switch in thier blade solution Chassis.
  • 1 Hide
    JAU , January 31, 2009 4:33 AM
    Hi folks. We're re-running the network test this weekend. Stay-tune for the update. - julio
  • 0 Hide
    MonsterCookie , January 31, 2009 8:21 AM
    I went over the review/test, and as far as i understood in this system there is only a single GLAN switch.
    Besides, the individual nodes do not have their own HDD, but a NAS instead.

    This is particularly bad, because the disk-I/O is also handled by this poor LAN switch.
    One should use at least two switches: one for internode communication, and the other for NFS and so on.

    Second point: if those prices which i have seen in the forum are right, than 20k$ is equivalent to 15600Euros.
    For that money i can buy from the company where we are buying our equipment from the same system build from Supermicro 1U Twins. For this price i even have Dual GLAN per node, and one Infiniband per node.
    This system above could be called indeed a computational server, and the Intel system is just something like a custom made weakly coupled network of computers which is coming with a hefty price tag.
    Of course one could argue that buying 3 Supermicro twins plus an Infiniband switch is not as neet looking as this Intel, but once it is in a rack, who cares?
    I would not really would like to listen to this intel machine on my desk anyway, so that should be put in a nice rack as well.
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