Workloads for 4-Socket and 8-Socket ServersArticle

20 May 2019
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Business Processing and Decision Support make up the largest and growing workloads for 4 & 8-socket servers. These workloads typically demand strong processing capability and a large amount of application memory. Many of these workloads are best suited for systems providing high memory and compute capabilities. Providing a scale-up deployment with high memory and strong processing is where the Lenovo SR850 and SR950 really shine.

Change History

Changes in the May 20 update:

  • The SR950 now supports up to 24 TB of system memory



Deciding which server infrastructure is best suited for various workloads requires you to look at workloads categories, characteristics and requirements. Then look at which servers are best suited to support these workload characteristics and requirements.

Workloads categories

The workloads that ThinkSystem SR850 and SR950 are most suited for are as follows:

  • Business Processing
    • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) includes the following transactional applications:
      • Enterprise wide line-of-business (LOB) applications (e.g., Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP)
      • Other business commerce applications that facilitate business transactions or other task automation over networks
    • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - automates the customer-facing business processes within an organization: sales, marketing, and customer service. (Collectively, these applications serve to manage the entire life cycle of a customer, helping an organization to build and maintain successful relationships.)
    • Online transaction processing (OLTP) - uses a database and is not ERP.
  • Decision Support
    • Data warehousing/data mart - tools are used to create and run data warehouses and data marts.
    • Data analysis/data mining - tools are used to access data warehouses for online analytical processing (OLAP), data mining, data visualization, Web query tools, and so on.
  • Collaborative
    • Email - includes traditional email applications.
    • Workgroup - applications let users collaborate and share information, such as groupware applications.
  • Application/Software Development
    • Traditional application development work.
  • IT Infrastructure
    • File/print - sharing includes infrastructure applications with the purpose primarily of being endpoints. (A transaction is sent to the network to be printed or stored on a disk, or a request is made to get information from the network. This category also would include cache servers.)
    • Networking - includes networking applications involving directory, security/authentication, network data/file transfer, communication, and system data/file transfer.
    • Proxy caching - includes applications that improve datacenter performance by storing and serving content from the edge of the network.
    • Security - includes applications specifically designed for authentication and identification and typically performing "firewall" services.
    • Systems management - includes applications that monitor and account for systems performance, resource planning, and resource allocation.
  • Web Infrastructure
    • Web serving - utilizes HTTP to accept requests from other servers and then search file systems accordingly.
    • Streaming media - includes video and audio multimedia applications for streaming, including an Internet component.

4S and 8S Workload Market

Looking at 4S & 8S revenue by workloads in the following figure (IDC Server Workloads Forecast and Analysis Study 2011-2016), you can see that Business Processing and Decision Support are the largest 4S & 8S Workload revenue producers.

These two workloads control a large share of the 4-8S market. These workloads are also supported with 2S servers but workloads such as IT Infrastructure and Web Infrastructure are much larger percentage of the 2S market.

Figure 1. 4S & 8S revenue by workload (* IDC Server Workloads Forecast and Analysis Study 2011-2016)

Business Processing & Decision Support Requirements

The two primary 4 and 8 socket workloads are Business Processing and Decision Support. These workloads are the most demanding in the Enterprise requiring high compute capabilities and memory/processor scalability to meet the increasing workload demands.

Compute Requirements – Faster transaction speeds and accelerated operations mean real-time responsiveness, quick results, and increased productivity. Fast compute allows you to handle today’s unprecedented growth in data volumes and improve the accuracy and precision of workloads requiring high performance.

Memory & Processor Scalability – Scalability allows a system to expand to meet increasing performance and sizing workload demands. Scaling memory is how much memory you can add to your server. Processor scaling is the ability to increase your number and capability of the CPUs in your system. Enterprises need assurance that the architecture is designed in such a way that system capacity can be increased as the needs of the business change.

Breaking Business Processing and Decision Support categories down into applications and more defined categories, we can see how these compare to applications with less compute and memory requirements. The applications/workloads with either lower compute or lower memory requirements tend to be support by Lenovo 1 and 2 processor servers. The ones with both high compute and memory requirements are where the SR850 and SR950 are the best choice to run these workloads.

Figure 2. Single System Scalability

Why ThinkSystem SR850 and SR950?

Lenovo ThinkSystem SR850
Figure 3. Lenovo ThinkSystem SR850

The ThinkSystem SR850 and SR950 both provide high compute requirements, memory/processor scalability as well as other capabilities necessary to support these demanding business process and decision support workloads:

  • Memory. The SR850 and SR950 have at least 2X the memory capabilities of two socket servers. The SR950 provides up to 96 DIMM slots and up 24TB of memory required for large virtual machines and in-memory databases.
  • Performance. The SR850 and SR950 provide at least 2X the compute performance of two socket servers. The SR950 has several World Record benchmark performances.
  • Agility. The SR850 scales from 2S – 24 DIMM to 4S-48DIMM. The SR950 provides 2S-24DIMM to 8S-96DIMM. These systems allow clients to add, modify or easily upgrade components for storage, compute and I/O.
  • Increased I/O. The SR950 provides up to 17 rear networking slots and the SR850 provides up to 10 rear networking slots. This compares to typical two socket systems providing 7-8 I/O slots.
  • Advanced RAS. Both systems fully support advanced Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS) capabilities no matter what CPU is configured. Mission critical applications require the highest level of RAS available.
  • Handling workloads that require high compute and scalability for both memory and processor, is where the SR850 and SR950 shine.

Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950
Figure 4. Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950

About the author

Randall Lundin is the Mission Critical Product Manager in the Lenovo Data Center Group. He is responsible for managing and planning Lenovo’s 4-socket and 8-socket servers. Randall has also authored and contributed to numerous Lenovo Press publications in the Mission Critical space.

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