Four NVMe Nodes in 2U MW’s Supermicro BigTwin Review

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We have many readers looking for a multi-node 2U system that is packed with NVMe SSDs to run their modern workloads. One of the hottest segments of 2017 will be replacing SATA and SAS with NVMe. The Suprmicro BigTwin is a 2U 4-node server that can handle 24x U.2 2.5″ NVMe drives, six assigned to each node. Even better, the BigTwin can handle multiple PCIe cards and dual Xeons with lots of RAM.

Supermicro BigTwin NVMe Quick Look

If you’ve used previous-gen 2U 4-node systems, Supermicro BigTwin NVMe is going to be very familiar. The front of the chassis has 24x U.2 2.5″ NVMe SSD slots. These can be for anything from current generation NAND SSDs to next-generation 3D XPoint SSDs like the Intel DC P4800X.

Supermicro-SYS-2028BT-HNR-NVMe-FrontYou will want to keep the rear of the Supermicro SYS-2028BT-HNR+ (the BigTwin NVMe’s formal model number) clear of obstruction so you can service the redundant power supplies and the four nodes.Supermicro-SYS-2028BT-HNRNVMe-Rear

Each node is hot swap and can be expanded with 24 DDR4 DIMMs, two PCIe 3.0 x16 low profile cards and a SIOM networking module. That’s Supermicro’s new proprietary network interface card slot.You can even add SATADOMs as necessary. Packing this much hardware into 2U of rack space is tantamount to fitting four high-end 1U servers into 2U of space. That’s not entirely true since you could have fit 10x NVMe drives per 1U server in Supermicro’s other options, but saving 2U of rack space seems like a good trade-off for doubling the compute density in a rack.

Supermicro BigTwin Management

Supermicro has standard IPMI 2.0 compliant remote management. Each of the BigTwin’s nodes has separate management interfaces. You can use a standard web browser and manage the server.

The BigTwin has some other features, like having power and management interface information available from each of the nodes.

This isn’t a direct replacement for a blade system management interface, but it gets the job done.

Conclusion

Hot! This server is a high-powered monster that squeezes every ounce of performance from 2U of rack space. We wish Supermicro cut a deal with Mellanox to add QSFP28 networking directly to each node so you could run 40/50/100GbE and not have to worry about the NIC used. Great innovation by Supermicro.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Performance
99 %
Management
97 %
Value
93 %
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