Fujitsu Primergy BX400 S1 review

29 Mar 2011

A quiet datacenter on wheels for SMBs; it closely matches HP’s c3000 for features and build quality

Price when reviewed: 
5,365exc VAT
5

Blade servers have always been beyond the budgets of SMBs, but Fujitsu’s Primergy BX400 S1 offers these businesses a compact and affordable datacenter in a box. HP set the ball rolling a while back with its BladeSystem c3000, codenamed Shorty; in this review we see whether Fujitsu’s alternative puts up a strong challenge.

The BX400 S1 is for offices looking to amalgamate IT services into a single system that’s easy to deploy, manage and maintain. It has plenty of expansion potential and is designed to work in normal office environments, without the need for extra air conditioning or cooling.

Physically, it’s similar to the c3000, in that both are 6U high and built like tanks. The BX4100 S1 has eight half-width server blade slots arranged horizontally and accessed from the front. The c3000’s slots are vertical, and it accepts four full-height or eight half-height blades, or a mixture of both.

Fujitsu Primergy BX400 S1

The colour LCD panel and control pad on the Fujitsu’s top panel are used to view the health status of the entire system. They also control the installation wizard, which runs through chassis configuration, enabling management access and choosing a power management scheme.

While HP offers a number of AMD server options, Fujitsu has just three Xeon-based server blades. The BX920 has two hot-swap SFF SAS/SATA disk bays at the front, with nine memory slots for up to 144GB of DDR3 memory. The BX922 has two internal cold-swap SFF SATA drives and 12 DIMM sockets. Both of these blades have embedded four-port Gigabit Ethernet controllers.

The third option is the BX924, which has a dual-port 10-Gigabit Ethernet adapter and supports up to 288GB of memory. To make room for its 18 DIMM sockets, it has two SATA SSDs fitted in cut-outs in the processor heatsinks. This blade is aimed at virtualisation duties and, along with the SSDs, supports remote booting or loading a hypervisor from an internal USB flash module.

All server blades have a riser tray at their rear that accepts a pair of mezzanine cards. Fujitsu currently offers cards with Gigabit, 10-Gigabit, Brocade Fibre Channel and InfiniBand.

Fujitsu offers several storage blades. The single-slot SX940 is a four-bay, hot-swap model that uses a direct PCI Express connection via the chassis mid-plane to the server blade below it. The new SX960 is a double-height, ten-drive blade, and for local backup there’s the SX910 with its LTO tape drive.

Details

Price ex VAT £4,471

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site next business day

Ratings

Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5

Physical

Server format Blade
Server configuration 6U enclosure with eight half-width blade slots

Power supply

Power supply rating 1,600W