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2 Posts authored by: kontron_ktaylor

You may not realize it yet, but your high-performing server might not actually be reaching its full performance and energy efficiency potential due to an underlying issue that can be nearly undetectable.  What’s worse is that the reliability of your servers could also be jeopardized.

 

Even though you might not be able to see it or feel it, most server installations are subject to some level of vibration that is introduced internally within the chassis (e.g. fans, drives) and also by the external environment (air conditioning, adjacent servers, ambient noise, etc).  Certain resonant frequencies of this vibration can have a detrimental effect on the performance of hard drives within the server.  This performance degradation has a greater impact during periods of more intensive reads and writes, which successive failures and retries can slow down overall system performance.  In some cases, a system can even crash if an operating system is running on the impacted drive.  The effects can range from negligible to severe depending on the intensity and resonant frequencies of the vibration being produced—such as very noisy environments or fans running at high speed under thermally constrained conditions.

 

While this vibration issue has always been around, it hasn’t been a problem until more recently when the capacities and aerial densities of hard drives have increased to a point where they are more susceptible to the effects of vibration.  Some server vendors and rack solution providers have already identified this as an area of concern, and are taking measures to address it.  But many others are not.  Customers need to be wary of the vibration issue in order to make better choices for servers they rely on.

 

Kontron has attacked the issue head-on by integrating innovative vibration suppression technologies into its communication rack mount servers.  In doing so, the effects of vibration within the chassis from internal and external sources have been greatly reduced.  This enables customers to achieve greater performance, energy efficiency, and reliability.  It also allows customers to choose from a larger selection of hard drive types and sizes (where even marginal drives are much more likely to work reliably) and to deploy denser systems to operate at higher temperatures.

 

I encourage you to read more about Kontron’s Communication Rack Mount Servers on the Kontron website and to also download the attached whitepaper on “Maintaining High Performance and Reliability: Innovative Vibration Suppression Technology for Communication Rack Mount Servers” for more information on this important topic.  And I invite you to take full advantage of Kontron’s expertise and unique product design in order to mitigate the risk of vibration in your server environment.

 

Kontron

Keith Taylor

Product Manager, Communications Rack Mount Servers

So what’s so special about NEBS servers anyway?  I occasionally hear some people say that strict compliance to NEBS-3 standards isn’t really needed anymore, and that companies can actually get by with something less (saving money in the process).  After all, why not find a lower-cost enterprise-class server that has been retrofitted to be “good enough” for NEBS installations?  I’ll call this the “soft NEBS” philosophy.

 

Well, this type of thinking may lead you to a false sense of security, especially if you are installing servers into a telco central office.  The fact is that telcos like Verizon and AT&T continue to drive increasingly strict requirements around NEBS (Network Equipment Building Systems) compliancy and other environmental standards for their mission-critical central offices.  Some of these new standards include Energy Efficiency Requirements for Telecom Industry (VZ.TPR.9205), Thermal Modeling Simulation and Test (TMST) Certification Program, and RoHS Lead-free PBA Qualification (VZ.TPR.9307).  In addition, the telcos are driving much needed cost savings in some very innovative ways, while keeping in mind that this must not come at the expense of not meeting the all necessary NEBS specifications—including fire suppression, thermal margin testing, vibration resistance, airflow patterns, acoustic limits, RF emissions, etc.

 

Though not an actual NEBS requirement, central offices also typically require server chassis that are no more than 20 inches in depth.  This is often required in order to achieve sufficient airflow and to meet minimum cable bend radius in the very space constrained rack environments of the central office.  However, I am amazed to see “soft” NEBS boxes coming on the market that are greater than 26 inches in depth.

 

Despite my above argument on why 20” NEBS servers continue to be so important in central offices, I am pleased to see a newer trend where NEBS-class servers are increasingly being used in other non-telco environments, whether that be in network data centers, in military communications infrastructure, or for medical imaging applications.  It is becoming apparent that these types of customers also value the ruggedness and reliability that is assured by strict NEBS-3 compliance.

 

Kontron has recently begun shipping the new CG2100 Carrier Grade Server, which is the industry’s latest state-of-the-art 2U NEBS server—the only one supporting Intel’s newest 6-core Xeon® 5600 processor and with freedom to choose your preferred hardware components and software.  In the grounds-up design of this server, special attention has been given to compliance to the latest NEBS-3 specs, 20” chassis depth, long lifecycle for maximum customer investment, and support of the Intel® Xeon® 5600 processor for leading performance and power efficiency.   In addition, Kontron takes all of its NEBS servers through actual NEBS testing at independent test labs, with formal test reports available to indicate the results. All are important in central office applications.  I encourage you to visit the CG2100 Carrier Grade Server product page on Kontron’s website to learn more details about this new server and how it can fit with your own application needs.  You can also get more information on how Kontron carrier grade servers can benefit you at the CRMS Technologies page.  Finally, let me know how I can help!

 

Believe me, there is no such thing as a soft NEBS standard, so please don’t get soft with someone else’s server either.

 

By the way, Kontron is a gold sponsor at the Verizon NEBS 2010 Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona on October 6-7, 2010.  We will be showcasing the CG2100 server in the Kontron exhibit area.  Come and visit us if you get the chance, while also learning more about the latest in NEBS-related technologies and trends from Verizon, AT&T, UL, and other industry leaders.

 

Kontron

Keith Taylor

Product Manager, Communications Rack Mount Servers

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