OEMs have long relied on Supermicro servers to house their software. Many of the spam filters, virtual tape libraries and iSCSI arrays that have come through the NetworkComputing Real World/DeepStorage Lab over the years have been based on Supermicro hardware. Smart appliance vendors look to minimize their warranty service costs, so I count long-term success in the OEM market as a sign of hardware reliability.
For the past few years, Supermicro has been the go-to player for when the standard 1U and 2U packages just don’t fit the need. Need high server density while retaining the I/O flexibility of standard PCIe slots? The twin series doubles server density by putting two servers, with the usual set of memory and PCIe slots, in a 1U or 2U chassis. The company can even stick four dual Nehalems, each with one PCIe slot, or eight Atom servers in a 2U chassis. The MicroCloud squeezes eight single-processor Xeon servers in a 3U space. The chassis provides drive slots and power without the management or I/O in a typical blade chassis.
Want to build a high-density storage server with Openfiler, NexentaStor or the like? Supermicro has a server chassis that loads drives in from the front and the back holding up to 45 LFF 3.5-inch drives or 88 SFF 2.5-inch drives.
If your software supports clustering, the company's dual server SBB (Storage Bridge Bay) system puts two dual Nehalem servers in a 3U cabinet with two 10-Gbps Ethernet links between them and 16 SAS or SATA drives over a shared backplane. Look closely at most second-tier vendors' dual controller systems, and you’ll see an SBB system.
Until I spoke with Supermicro, I thought of the company as innovating primarily in mechanical engineering while taking the Intel or AMD chip set and assembling pretty standard motherboards. As we walked thought the product line, I started noticing systems designed for GPU computing with multiple Nvidia Tesla GPUs and, most impressively, an eight-way Xeon 7500 system that can take 2 Tbytesof RAM. That’s a bigger server than you’ll find in the Dell product line, and there is no Intel reference design.