ThinkSystem SR950 Server ConfigurationsArticle

Updated
3 Jan 2018
Form Number
LP0775
PDF size
9 pages, 892 KB

Abstract

This article examines the Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 various configurations. The SR950 can be configured from 2S to 8S, from 24 DIMM slots to 96 DIMMs slots and from three PCIe slots on the main system board to up to 14 PCIe slots with risers. Some configurations support a max of 12 storage bays and six NVMe while others support a maximum of 24 storage bays and 12 NVMe. The SR950 supports three series of Intel Scalable Processors (5100 Series, 6100 Series and 8100 Series) each of which provides varying levels of capabilities and performance.

Change History

Changes in the January 3 update:

  • Updated the article to include possible upgrades using the new 4S to 8S Upgrade Kit

Video Introduction

Introduction

The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 is designed for your most demanding, mission-critical workloads, such as in-memory databases, large transactional databases and real-time analytics, ERP, CRM, and virtualized server workloads. The powerful 4U ThinkSystem SR950 can grow from two to eight Intel Xeon Scalable Family processors and with 96 DIMM that supports up to 12 TB of high-speed memory. The modular design of SR950 speeds upgrades and servicing with easy front or rear access to all major subsystems to maximize server availability.


Figure 1. The SR950 server is available in 24-drive and 12-drive configurations

Let’s take a look at the SR950 various primary configurations that impact the processing power, memory, I/O and storage of the server.

Configuration Summary

The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 supports five different primary configurations, depending on the desired number of processors, drive bays, PCIe slots and upgradability to an 8 socket configuration.

The two key decision points in building an SR950 that significantly impact your overall server configuration:

  1. Do you need the capability of a simple 8-socket upgrade path?
    • If yes, select SR950 2S to 8S Base (note requires 8100 Series CPUs)
    • If no, select SR950 2S to 4S Base (upgrade to 8S requires a 4S to 8S Upgrade Kit and Lenovo service)
  2. Do you need more than 12 storage bays and 6 NVMe?
    • If yes, select 24 Hard Drive Maximum System
    • If no, select 12 Hard Drive Maximum System

There are five overarching configurations of the SR950:

  • Four-Socket Performance - The highest-performing 4-socket server, at the lowest cost when up to 12 drives is enough and without the need for a simple upgrade (can be upgraded to 8S but requires the 4S to 8S Upgrade Kit and Lenovo hardware installation)
  • Four-Socket Performance/Storage Rich -  The highest-performing 4-socket server, when needing more than 12 drives without the need for a simple upgrade (can be upgraded to 8S but requires the 4S to 8S Upgrade Kit and Lenovo hardware installation)
  • Four-Socket Upgradable - The lowest-cost 4-socket server capable of being easily upgraded to 8 socket and when 12 drive bays with 4 processors is enough storage.
  • Four-Socket Upgradable / Storage Rich - 4-socket server capable of being easily upgraded to 8-socket and needing more than 12 drive bays with 4 processor
  • Eight Socket Storage Rich - Full featured 8-socket server with up to 24 drive bays and the maximum number of PCIe x16 slots

We describe each of these in the remainder of the article.

Four-Socket Performance

Select this configuration when you need a strong performing 4S server and 12 storage drives including up to 6 NVMe drives is enough. Can be upgraded to 8S but requires a 4S to 8S Upgrade Kit and Lenovo hardware installation.

Four-Socket Performance
Figure 2. Four-Socket Performance

 

CPUs 4 Intel Xeon Scalable processors (5100, 6100 and 8100 series) or 2 (6100, 8100 series)
Memory Up to 6TB with 48 DIMMs
Storage Up to 12 storage bays including up to 6 NVMe. Choice of backplanes that support SAS/SATA or SAS/SATA/NVMe.
RAID Single RAID adapter support up to 12 drives
PCIe Riser Up to two 4-x8 or 2-x16 PCI Riser and 2-x8 Riser
PCIe Slots 13 PCIe, 1 ML2, 1 LOM
Upgradable to 8S Requires a 4S to 8S Upgrade Kit and Lenovo service in addition to the full upper Compute Tray
Cost Lowest cost SR950 configuration
How to Configure Select SR950 2S to 4S Base and 12 Hard Drive Maximum

Four-Socket Performance / Storage Rich

Select this configuration when you need a strong performing 4S server and need more than 12 storage drives or more than 6 NVMe drives. Can be upgraded to 8S but requires a 4S to 8S Upgrade Kit and Lenovo hardware installation.


Figure 3. Four-Socket Performance / Storage Rich

 

CPUs 4 Intel Xeon Scalable processors (5100, 6100 and 8100 series)
Memory Up to 6TB with 48 DIMMs
Storage Up to 24 storage bays including up to 12 NVMe. Choice of backplanes that support SAS/SATA or SAS/SATA/NVMe.
RAID Two RAID adapter support up to 12 drives each
PCIe Riser Up to two 4-x8 or 2-x16 PCI Risers
PCIe Slots 11 PCIe, 1 ML2, 1 LOM
Upgradable to 8S Requires a 4S to 8S Upgrade Kit and Lenovo service in addition to the full upper Compute Tray
Cost Somewhat higher cost than 4S Performance with only 12 storage Bays
How to Configure Select SR950 2S to 4S Base and 24 Hard Drive Maximum

Four-Socket Upgradable

Select this configuration when you need a 4S server capable of a simple upgrade to 8S when 12 storage drives including up to 6 NVMe drives is enough prior to upgrade.


Figure 4. Four-Socket Upgradable

 

CPUs 2 or 4 Intel Xeon Scalable processors 8100 series (only 8100 series processors are capable of 8S scalability)
Memory Up to 6TB with 48 DIMMs (prior to upgrade)
Storage Up to 12 storage bays including up to 6 NVMe. Choice of backplanes that support SAS/SATA or SAS/SATA/NVMe. (prior to upgrade)
RAID Single RAID adapter support up to 12 drives (prior to upgrade)
PCIe Riser Up to two 4-x8 or 2-x16 PCI Riser and 2-x8 Riser
PCIe Slots 13 PCIe, 1 ML2, 1 LOM
Upgradable to 8S Simple upgrade to 8S, involves a full upper Compute Tray being added
Cost Lowest cost SR950 capable of being upgraded to 8S
How to Configure Select SR950 2S to 8S Base,12 Hard Drive Maximum and 2 or 4 CPUs

Four-Socket Upgradable / Storage Rich

Select this configuration when you need a 4S server capable of a simple upgrade to 8S and need more than 12 storage drives including up to 6 NVMe drives prior to upgrade.


Figure 5. Four-Socket Upgradable / Storage Rich

 

CPUs 4 Intel Xeon Scalable processors 8100 series (only 8100 series processors are capable of 8S scalability)
Memory Up to 6TB with 48 DIMMs (prior to upgrade)
Storage Up to 24 storage bays including up to 4 NVMe. Choice of backplanes that support SAS/SATA or SAS/SATA/NVMe. (once upgraded will support 12 NVMe)
RAID Two RAID adapter support up to 12 drives each
PCIe Riser Up to two 5 x16+ML2 Riser and 2 x8 Riser
PCIe Slots 8 PCIe, 1 ML2, 1 LOM (once upgraded to 8S, will match 8S PCIe)
Upgradable to 8S Simple upgrade to 8S involves two 2S system boards being added
Cost Higher cost prior to upgrade but lower upgrade cost. This is due to the Compute System Tray being installed prior to upgrade.
How to Configure Select SR950 2S to 8S Base, 24 Hard Drive Maximum and 4 CPUs

Eight Socket / Storage Rich

Select this configuration when you need a high performing 8S server with up to 24 storage drives including up to 12 NVMe. Also provides a tremendous amount of x16 PCIe.


Figure 6. Eight Socket / Storage Rich

 

CPUs 8 Intel Xeon Scalable processors 8100 series (only 8100 series processors are capable of 8S scalability)
Memory Up to 12TB with 96 DIMMs
Storage Up to 24 storage bays including up to 12 NVMe. Choice of backplanes that support SAS/SATA or SAS/SATA/NVMe.
RAID Two RAID adapter support up to 12 drives each
PCIe Riser Up to two 5 x16+ML2 Riser and 2 x8 Riser
PCIe Slots 14 PCIe, 2 ML2, 1 LOM
Upgradable to 8S Configured and shipped as 8S
Cost Higher cost prior to upgrade but lower upgrade cost. This is due to the Compute System Tray being installed prior to upgrade.
How to Configure Select SR950 2S to 8S Base, 24 Hard Drive Maximum and 8 CPUs

Conclusion

The SR950 is a very configurable system in terms of processors, memory, storage and I/O. Understanding the five different primary configurations will help you optimize the SR950 to best match your needs for performance, scalability and capabilities.

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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