Industry Bytes: NEC Express5800/A1080a Series

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At this past TechEd in Atlanta I met with Mike Mitch, Managing Director IT Group for NEC Corporation of America and Chas Weber, Director Alliances IT Group for NEC Corporation of America, to talk about the recent release of NEC’s Express5800/A1080a server series. Designed to support high-end SQL Server and virtualization workloads the new NEC Express5800/A1080a series of system utilizes the newest Intel Xeon E7 processors (code named Westmere). The NEC Express5800/A1080a series is an enterprise class machine built in a 7U chassis and it provides support for 8 sockets and up to 2TB of RAM. The system takes advantage of Intel’s Machine Check Architecture for advanced error detection and it also supports modular –in-box partitioning which allows it to be logically divided into multiple servers.

NEC demonstrated the performance of the NEC5800/A1080a series with a new number one TPC-E score of 4200.61 tpsE. NEC now holds two to the top four TPC-E scores. The latest round of tests were run on the NEC Express 5800/A1080a-e system with 8 Intel Xeon E7 processors running at 2.40Ghz with 80 cores using 160 threads. This system had 2048GB of RAM and was running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition with SP1 and SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition.

I also spoke to one of NEC’s customer’s, Mike Steineke Vice President Information Technology for EdgeNet and Microsoft MVP. EdgeNet is a long time Microsoft partner and part of Microsoft’s TAP program. They provide software and services for retail companies. Some of their notable customers include AutoZone and Home Depot. EdgeNet had been using multiple NEC Express5800 servers running the previous generation of Intel Nehalem processors to support their SaaS offerings. They were an early adopter of the new E7 processors and they noted significant performance increases in comparing the newer Westmere based systems to the older Nehalem based systems. The E7 systems offered 10 cores per socket as opposed to the Nehalem’s 8 cores. They also provided higher clock speeds and lower voltage memory. Mike ran tests on both platforms to compare the performance. The tests, which used a custom multi-threaded C# .NET application that manipulated images and inserted them into a database, saw a huge performance increase of 34% per core. Running on the older Nehalem chipset Mike saw a maximum processing rate of 217 images per second. The newer E7 architecture pushed that maximum up to 360 images per second.

One great feature for existing NEC customers is that the previous Express5800/1000 family with Intel Nehalem processors can be upgraded in-place to the new higher performance Intel E7 processors. Customers can take their existing servers and replace the processors, memory and then upgrade the firmware to immediately take advantage of the higher performance E7 processors. You can find more information about the NEC Express5800/A1080a server series at: http://www.necam.com/servers/enterprise/index.cfm

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