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Fujitsu Primergy BX400 S1 review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 29 Mar 2011

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £4,471 (£5,365 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

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User comments

Life is too short

So you compare this with a device which is over 3 years old! Is there a PCPro rule that you must include a link in a review, no matter how irrelevant?

By milliganp on 1 Apr 2011

c3000 comparison

Comparing the BX400 S1 with HP's c3000 is highly relevant. Fujitsu considers the c3000 as a direct competitor. It may have the same chassis as when launched but HP offers all the same server and connection blades for the c3000 as for its enterprise c7000 system.
That's the advantage of a well designed blade server chassis as it can be continually updated by using new server and connection blades as required.

By DaveMitchell on 2 Apr 2011

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