FX Architecture Solutions Overview

Posted by Richard Jones, xByte Sales Engineer on Aug 16, 2022

The PowerEdge FX Architecture is based on a modular building-block concept.

This concept is realized through the PowerEdge FX2 chassis, the foundation of the FX Architecture. The FX2 is a 2U rack-based, converged computing platform that combines the density and efficiencies of blades with the simplicity and cost advantages of rack-based systems.



Figure 1. FX2 Platform with 4x FC430 Sever Nodes, 2x FD332 Storage Sleds and Rear IO 8x PCIe Slots

The FX2 hosts flexible blocks of server and storage resources while providing outstanding efficiencies through shared power, networking, I/O, and management within the chassis itself (Figure 1.). Although each server block has some local storage, the FX Architecture allows servers to access multiple types of storage, such as a centralized storage area network (SAN) either Fiber Channel/iSCSI, or direct attach storage (DAS), FD332 SAS RAID storage or in Just a Bunch of Disks (JBODs).


Server Blocks:

The PowerEdge FC430 is an excellent mid-tier processing option for data centers. It is well suited for web serving, virtualization (vSAN), dedicated hosting and other midrange computing tasks. Its extra-small, quarter-width size is designed to make the PowerEdge FC430 one of the densest solutions in the market. This form factor allows more discrete physical servers to be packed into a smaller space than usual to support higher levels of availability and density.

General Server Details:

  • Up to two 18-core Intel Xeon E5-2600 V4 processors
  • 8 DDR4 DIMM slots, up to 2400MT/s speeds, 256GB
  • Storage options include two 1.8” uSATA SSDs

CUSTOMIZE

The PowerEdge FC630/640 server, with its high-performance processors and large memory capacity, can serve as a strong foundation for corporate data centers and private clouds. It readily handles demanding business applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM), and it also can host a large virtualization environment.

General Server Details:

  • Up to two 28-core 2nd generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors
  • 16 DDR4 DIMM slots, supports RDIMM / LRDIMM, up to 2933MT/s speeds, 2TB* maximum memory
  • High performing storage options include up to two 2.5” drives with optional NVMe PCIe SSDs; 12.8TB maximum capacity

CUSTOMIZE

The PowerEdge FC830 server, with its 4 high-performance processors and exceptionally large memory capacity, offers a highly reliable solution for the most demanding workloads of midsize and large enterprises, whether they are large scale virtualization environments, or centralized corporate business processing applications.

General Server Details:

  • Up to four 22-core Intel Xeon Broadwell-E5-4600 v4 processors
  • 48 DDR4 DIMM slots, up to 2400MT/s speeds, 3TB max
  • Storage options include eight 2.5-inch drives; option of NVMe PCIe SATA HDD/SSDs or SAS HDD/SSDs

CUSTOMIZE


Storage Block:

The PowerEdge FD332 storage block provides dense, highly scalable, direct attached storage for most FX infrastructures. It is a critical component of the FX architecture, enabling future-ready scale out infrastructures that bring storage closer to compute for accelerated processing.

General Storage Array Details:

  • Up to 16 x hot-plug Small Form Factor SSD/HDD
  • 12Gb/s SAS 3.0 and 6Gb/s SATA 3.0
  • PERC9 RAID, Pass-thru I/O, Single or Dual SAS controllers, mix and match for dual controllers – RAID/non-RAID
  • New HBA330 support enables local drives for SDS environments in VMware

CUSTOMIZE


IO Blocks:

The FX2 chassis can be ordered with 1Gb or 10Gb pass through IO modules, or optional IO aggregator modules. The FN410s, FN410t, and the FN2210s are powerful IO aggregators providing plug-and-play network switch layer 2 functions. These IO aggregators simplify cable management while also enabling other networking features, like optimized “east/west” server to server traffic within the chassis, LAN/SAN convergence, and simplified network deployment.

These three IOM versions address typical LAN, LAN + IP storage, LAN + iSCSI SAN and LAN + FCoE traffic:

FN410s 4-port SFP+ IO Module
Provides 4 ports of SFP+ 10GbE connectivity. Supports optical and DAC cable media.
FN410t 4-port 10GBASE-T IO Module
Provides 4 ports of 10GBASE-T connectivity. Supports cost effective copper media up to 100 m.
FN2210s 4-port Combination Fibre Channel/Ethernet IO Module
Delivers up to 2 ports of 2/4/8Gbps Fibre Channel bandwidth (NPG mode and full fabric services). Also delivers up to 4 ports SFP+ 10GbE (with reboot).

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FX Advanced Enterprise Management:

FX customers can elect to manage FX systems either like a rack server (locally or remotely) using the iDRAC8 (iDRAC9 with FC640s) with Lifecycle Controller or manage the servers and chassis collectively – in a one-to-many fashion using the innovative Chassis Management Controller (CMC), an embedded server management component. These options enable IT Administrators to easily adopt FX servers without changing existing processes.



Figure 2. Node locations in PowerEdge FX2 enclosure (composite drawing)


The CMC Interface for the FX Platform

Each FX server block’s iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller provides agent-free management with no dependence upon a hypervisor or OS being installed. When managing the FX platform’s shared infrastructure, the iDRAC monitors shared infrastructure components such as fans and power supply units. If an alert occurs, it will be reported by each server block, just as with a traditional rack server. When managing FX infrastructure via the CMC, these same alerts will be routed through the CMC. The CMC, of course, can also manage the server blocks via iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller as well as platform networking in its intuitive, easy to use, web interface.



Figure 3. The CMC interface for the FX platform

The CMC can also monitor up to 20 FX systems at a glance, perform one-to-many BIOS and firmware updates, and maintain slot-based server configuration profiles which will update BIOS and firmware when a new server is installed. Each one of these abilities delivers time savings over conventional management and reduces the risk of human-entry errors by automating repetitive tasks.


Conclusion: FX is the Foundation for a Future-Ready Agile Infrastructure

The PowerEdge FX2 is a 2U hybrid rack-based computing platform that combines the density and efficiencies of blades with the simplicity and cost benefits of rack-based systems. With an innovative modular design that accommodates IT resource building blocks of various sizes — compute, storage, networking and management — the FX2 enables data centers to construct their infrastructures with greater flexibility.


Contact xByte today, sales@xbyte.com, to receive a custom quote on a Dell PowerEdge FX Architecture Solution.