Review: Fujitsu Primergy RX300 S5

Computerworld server review for mid-size organisation virtualisation

The Fujitsu Primergy RX300 S5 was reviewed as part of the Computerworld server review for mid-size organisation virtualisation.

Test configuration RRP: $5328 including GST (note with two E5520 CPU the price is $6289).

The design and construction of the Fujitsu Primergy RX300 S5 is of a very high quality; the chassis finish is excellent and the component layout is clean and tidy, arguably the best of the servers tested.

The front panel is minimalist but includes some nice touches, such as a pull-out plastic card that displays the server’s vital statistics including serial number and Mac addresses. There are eight hot-swap drive bays, however there is provision for a further four which enables a total of twelve 2.5-inch bays. Our test server came with two 146GB SAS drives. An alternative configuration is available with six 3.5-inch drive bays. Inserting and removing the drive cradles is smooth, however, the locking mechanism is a bit fiddly.

A Fujitsu branded SAS controller was fitted with a battery backup for its on-board cache.

The server configuration and upgrade guides attached to the chassis are the most colourful we have seen and, while they are not as extensive as some other servers, they are the clearest and simplest to follow by a long way.

Redundancy is very good for this class of server and begins with the obligatory pair of hot swap drives that are each rated at 800W. Chassis cooling is also impressive — on par with the HP c3000 enclosure. The RX300 has two parallel rows, each row with five hot swap fans to directly cool every square centimetre of the server.

The fans do not mate with a power plug. Instead, contacts on the bottom of the fan enclosure rest on contacts on the motherboard. Our past experience with these types of contacts is that they have a very small point of contact and tend to oxidise so contact resistance increases more so with than a standard plug, which could lead to a fan failing prematurely.

The 18 DIMM slots (nine per CPU) support memory mirroring and hot spare configurations. Our test system was supplied with 12GB of memory. The memory ceiling is 144GB of DDR3 registered ECC RAM.

The test system shipped with only a single E5520 2.26GHz CPU and we were well into testing when the server arrived at the lab. Consequently, all the tests were carried out with a single CPU and in some cases we had to modify the VM CPU allocations to allow for the lower available core count.

For a 2U server, the RX300 has a commendable number of PCIe expansion slots — seven in total — with one occupied by the SAS RAID controller. Of the remaining six, two are 8x and the remaining four are 4x, although these four slots can be utilised as two 8x slots provided the adjacent slot remains empty.

Two Gigabit LAN ports and a dedicated system management LAN port come as standard. The iRMC S2 remote management controller is IMPI 2.0 compatible. The standard management includes the ServerView suite but more advanced management ServerView will integrate with Tivoli TEC, Tivoli NetView, HP NNM and HP Operations Manager.

Given the single CPU compared to the dual CPUs of the other servers, it’s hardly surprising that the CPU performance was noticeably lower than its peers. It is worth noting that in some of the CPU tests, the RX300 was slightly faster than the two other servers equipped with the E5520 CPU. Memory bandwidth performance was the fastest of any server despite the fact that all the servers were configured with identical speed DIMMs. Hard drive performance was middle of the road when compared to the other server hard drives.

Verdict The Fujitsu Primergy RX300 S5 is a very accomplished 2U server with high quality workmanship and a good range of fault tolerance features and, at the lower and of the tested price range, it is good value.

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