GRC & Minimus Servers Blog

NVMe Vs SATA SSDs: Is it Time to Switch?

Posted by Christiaan Best on August 24, 2016

As NVMe approaches price parity with SATA SSDs, we have been receiving a growing number of requests for Minimus servers with NVMe SSD’s. While designing these servers, we’ve learned some interesting facts about NVMe and why it may be time to ditch SATA. Here is what we found:

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Topics: Servers, Storage, NVMe, SSD

Picking the Right Processor: $/GFLOP with Different Intel Models

Posted by Christiaan Best on August 16, 2016

Most HPC buyers look to get the most performance for the lowest budget. As mentioned in an earlier post 'Server Cost Breakdown By Components', processors are normally the most expensive component in a cluster, this is especially true for non-GPU / Co-processor accelerated clusters. Picking the right CPU is critical.

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Topics: HPC Cluster, cost, Processors, HPC, data center, TCO

The Importance of Going Green in Business

Posted by Guest on August 2, 2016

Written by Kaitlin Krull from Modernize.

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Topics: data center efficiency, efficiency

The Incredible Shrinking Price of Memory

Posted by Christiaan Best on June 30, 2016
As covered in our previous blog reviewing server component costs, memory is often a dominant cost when buying a server. Surprisingly, memory prices are also one of the most volatile. Understanding trends are helpful to keeping your server costs low.

There are a couple of important points for those managing a data center:
  • Pricing can change fast, especially when a new line of processors chooses to support only certain standards. For example, when Intel E5-26xx v4 called out DDR4-2400 vs the DDR4-2133 for Intel E5-26xx v3.
  • While a specific model may go up or down, the overall trend in memory prices are downward. In some cases this is as much as 30% in 4 months.
  • Keeping on top of current memory is a constant battle. For example, we just updated minimusservers.com with significantly lower pricing despite being online for just over 2 months.
  • The current price for DDR4-2400 ECC memory is around $4.70 per GB.
    Note: this is Minimus pricing, pricing form other sources may be higher.
The website www.pcpartpicker.com has a great graphic for tracking general trends. The below graph shows pricing for many different brand and models of 4GB DDR4-2133 over time.


Figure 1: Price trends of 4GB DDR4-2400 from Jan 2015 to June 2016
Image credit: pcpartpicker.com



Comparing the pricing trends for two specific models of 16 GB DDR4 2133 from the same brand (Kingston), the pricing for one model is a lot more stable than the other.

Figure 2: Volatile price of the Kingston KVR21R15D4/16 (16 GB DDR4-2133)
Image credit: pcpartpicker.com



Figure 3: Relatively stable price trend of the Kingston KTH-PL421/16G (16 GB DDR4-2133)
Image credit: pcpartpicker.com



There are several conflicting factors that affect the daily price variance of memory:
  1. The cost of producing memory, like nearly all silicon based computer components, is largely from enormous upfront capital costs amortized over time. The marginal cost is actually quite low.
  2. When a new specification is released, pricing starts out high because of low demand, little competition, and low manufacturing yield. As a product matures and gains adoption, prices drop.
  3. Supply and demand does play a big role. Prices can change daily if demand is high or market conditions change.
  4. Manufacturers often increase their prices on specific models to incentivize customers to buy different models that cost less to produce. Searching against a specific configuration, you can see that memory costs will vary as much as 300% despite the same performance specification.
If you have looked at minimusservers.com before, we would encourage you to requote the same systems with updated pricing. Pricing on memory and SSD’s are significantly lower.

To learn more about our data center solutions call us at +1 512-692-8003 or contact us here.


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Topics: Servers, components, hardware, cost, cost optimization, memory

Experiment: Temperature Set Point vs Server Fan Power

Posted by Alex McManis on June 17, 2016
There is a prevalent industry focus on increasing data center temperature to improve PUE and lower power usage, but when does it go too far? While it may be common knowledge that raising data center air temperature to above 70°F saves power, finding the sweet spot and exploring higher temperatures with free cooling takes some experimentation.

Even if you aren’t considering raising your data center set point, consider that inlet air temperature varies significantly from top to bottom of the rack. Airflow engineering attempts to even out airflow across the room, but a variation of 10°F is still not uncommon.

To find the effect of higher temperatures, GRC decided to measure the power of a server with varying input air – and you should, too. Using a power meter and thermocouple, we gradually increased the amount of recirculation to increase the input temperature into the server.

*Note: Raising the air set point is to save power on the chiller. We can’t test that affect because GRC data centers are chiller-less.

The following data is taken from a 2009 Dell R410, populated with a single, low power processor. Since the chassis is lightly loaded, the fans aren’t working strenuously. Fan power in other chassis is shown in Table 3 below.


Table 1: Dell R410 (2009) lightly loaded with a single processor, representing relatively low fan power
Ambient Temperature (ºC) Ambient Temperature (ºF) Power (Watts) Increase (∆ 27ºC)
27ºC 80.6ºF 137.7 -
29ºC 84.2ºF 139.4 +1%
31ºC 87.8ºF 141.5 +3%
33ºC 91.4ºF 144.0 +5%
33ºC 91.4ºF 144.1 +5%
35ºC 95.0ºF 148.4 +8%
37ºC 98.6ºF 154 +12%


Table 2: Distributed Computing Load and Air Temperature


We found the server power increased logarithmically with input temperature. We also measured the difference between servers in air versus servers submerged in GRC cooling equipment.

Table 3: Power Savings from Submerging in Oil
Brand Model Size Power Savings in Oil*
OpenCompute Winterfell 2U 9%
Dell 1950, gen III 1U 30%
Dell R410 1U 8%
Dell C6100c 2U, 8 CPU 17%
Supermicro 1026 1U 20%
IBM X3550 1U 8%
HP 585 G5 4U 18%
CoinTerra Miner 4U 29%
*Compared to 75-80ºF inlet air temperature

With your servers, how much power could you save by running the fans slower? How much if you submerged the servers and removed the fans altogether?

To learn more about Green Revolution Cooling's solutions call us at +1 512-692-8003 or contact us here.


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Topics: fans, temperature, Servers, components, hardware, cost, cost optimization

Transformer Efficiency

Posted by Christiaan Best on June 8, 2016

Transformer Efficiency: Is it worth it?

PUE often encompasses all of the losses from the utility down to the server. This includes transformers that convert power down to 400 or 208, 3 phase power. To get an understanding of your "total" efficiency, transformer efficiency and costs have to first be understood.

Here are few things of interest to data center operators:
  • There are several factors that affect transformer inefficiency (electrical losses):
    • Hysteresis due to charging the field in the iron core (which is NOT proportional to load).
    • Line losses through the coil (which are proportional to load).
  • There are several different type of transformers:
    • "Standard temperature rise" – More efficient at partial loads, where data centers actually operate.
    • "Low temperature rise" – This means there is a low surface temperature (less heat coming off the transformer). These transformers have larger iron cores, which make them more efficient at transferring energy at high loads, but less efficient at partial loads, where data centers actually operate.
    • DOE 2016” – In the US, the Department of Energy released a new efficiency standard for all transformers sold. These transformers are more efficient across the board.
Below, Figure 1 shows a typical efficiency curve for a 225 kVA transformer from Square D. This is juxtaposed against older, standard temperature rise, and low temperature rise transformers.

Figure 1: Transformer efficiency curves for standard, low temperature, and DOE 2016 type transformers
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Topics: data center efficiency, transformers, cost, efficiency, power

Server Cost Breakdown By Components

Posted by Christiaan Best on June 1, 2016
A lot of people are curious to know how server costs breakdown, component by component. The costs can vary hugely depending on the configuration. Discounts also apply when you buy components in larger volumes. We put together an example below for a typical air-cooled server bought in quantities of a few hundred servers. There are a couple of takeaways:
  • Different buyers get different pricing* based on volume, type of organization, application, relationship with sales rep, etc. Big companies can end up spending as much as 40% less than small businesses.
  • CPUs are a dominant cost and are rarely negotiable
  • Memory and storage pricing is relatively constant between vendors after discounts
*GRC does not practice price discrimination.


Server Cost Breakdown

Note: the prices in the below table have been sourced from popular electronics vendor websites, and are not necessarily indicative of Minimus pricing.

Component Quantity Price Estimate Extended Total
CPU: E5-2650v4 (12 CORE) 2 $1,116.00 $2,232.00
Memory: 16GB, DDR4-2400, ECC 8 $95.00 $760.00
Storage: Boot SSD, 120GB 1 $119.00 $119.00
Storage: 480GB, Medium Endurance SSD 2 $391.97 $783.94
Network Card: None 0 $0.00 $0.00
Chassis Costs      
Motherboard: Dual Socket E5-26xx v4, 8 Memory DIMMS, On-board Network: 2x RJ45 Gbe LAN Ports, 1x RJ45 IPMI LAN Port 1 $299.00 $299.00
CPU Heat Sink 2 $14.00 $28.00
Power Supply 1 $95.00 $95.00
Storage Backplane 1 $75.00 $75.00
Drive Caddies 4 $13.00 $52.00
Fans 5 $10.00 $50.00
Internal Cables 1 $20.00 $20.00
Riser Cards 1 $19.30 $19.30
Sheet Metal Case 1 $100.00 $100.00
Assembly Labor and Test 1 $150.00 $150.00
10% Markup 1 $478.32 $478.32
    Total Cost $5,261.56



About GRC and Minimus Servers

Green Revolution Cooling has introduced Minimus Servers in partnership with hardware giants Supermicro and Gigabyte. The Minimus platform offers reliable, purpose-built servers for a fraction of the cost of OEM servers. The core of Minimus’s price-effectiveness is that customers get exactly the configuration they need, but without the added costs of extraneous features and brand-related premiums that are normally tacked onto OEM offerings.

To learn more about Minimus Servers contact us at info@minimusservers.com or call +1 512-692-8003.


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Topics: Servers, components, hardware, cost, cost optimization

Introducing Minimus Servers

Posted by Matt Solomon on April 14, 2016
Last week, we introduced Minimus Servers to the market. At its core, Minimus is two things - less expensive, and a novelly simple method for using liquid cooling in your data center. It's an integrated package made up of purpose-built servers, standalone rack-based cooling, and power distribution.

Designed in partnership with high-quality OEM manufacturers like Supermicro and Gigabyte, the Minimus Server is a reliable, low-cost server that offers savings of 50% to 60% compared to Dell.com.

Why Minimus? Why now?

For years, Green Revolution Cooling has been helping customers design and build their own custom hardware so that they are able to take full advantage of their immersion cooling technology. Since GRC has deployed thousands upon thousands of these servers, paired with the fact that they boast a less than 1% failure rate, we're making the Minimus architecture widely available to the entire market. In conjunction with immersion cooling, Minimus Servers make data centers more efficient, more cost-effective, and easier to deploy - simple as that.

How do Minimus Servers cost a fraction of average OEM prices? Take a look at the image below.
GRC_Minimus-Photo_Parts-e_Waste_430px.png
Don't pay for unnecessary components with fully customizable Minimus Servers

How to save 50% to 60% off over Dell.com

The Minimus offers you the ability to pick and choose the parts and features you need for your application like processors, memory, etc., while eliminating all the extraneous parts and features such as fans, intricate chassis, architecture for redundant power supplies, hard drive caddies, etc.

The result is a lean, low-cost server that is custom-built for your application.

To see for yourself, use our price calculator and get Minmimus Servers savings in real time.
Minimus-CTA_Button-New-PRICE.png

High Reliability

Thousands of Minimus-designed servers have already been deployed in data centers around the world and are performing efficiently. In addition, they have proven to be some of the most reliable servers in application. This high reliability comes from the use of premium components from quality manufacturers like Supermicro, Gigabyte, Intel, and others, used in conjunction with naturally protective immersion cooling environments. All of these factors are what contribute to the Minimus’s unmatched reliability.

It gets even better with the Minimus Pod - think of it as a data center easy button.
Minimus-Image-Plus_Equals.png

The Minimus POD - Integrated Design

The Minimus POD is an integrated, pre-cabled, pre-populated rack design that makes adding capacity to your data center extremely simple and cost-effective. The pod design allows you to connect over 350 servers with a single 480 or 400 VAC power plug and a water connection.

Full Service Offering

With one number to call, the single integrated system of the Minimus POD is as simple and easy to support as a data center can possibly be.

There’s never been a more cost-effective and simpler way to get all the benefits of liquid cooling! To learn more about Minimus Servers and how it can help you meet your data center's goals, write us at info@minimusservers.com or call +1 512-692-8003.


Sample Comparisons

EXAMPLE CONFIGURATION: BASIC DUAL PROCESSOR

 Minimus ServerDell R430
CPU Dual E5-2620 v3, 6 Core, 2.4 GHz Dual E5-2620 v3, 6 Core, 2.4 GHz
Memory 64 GB ECC, RDIMM DDR4 64 GB ECC, RDIMM DDR4
Storage 400 GB Intel 3610 SSD 400 GB Intel 3610 SSD
LAN 2 x RJ45, 1 GbE 3 x RJ45,1 GbE
1 x RJ45 dedicated management 1 x RJ45, dedicated for iDRAC
Management IPMI 2.0 with KVM over LAN Proprietary iDRAC with remote access
Density Up to 4 motherboards per U
(8 processors)
1 motherboard per U
(2 processors)
Cost $1955 $3914 web - $5914 list


EXAMPLE CONFIGURATION: HIGH END, DUAL PROCESSOR WORKHORSE

 Minimus ServerDell R430
CPU Dual E5-2650 v3, 10 Core, 2.3 GHz Dual E5-2650 v3, 10 Core, 2.3 GHz
Memory 128 GB ECC, RDIMM DDR4 128 GB ECC, RDIMM DDR4
Storage 800 GB Intel 3610 SSD 800 GB Intel 3610 SSD
LAN 2 x RJ45, 10 GbE 2 x RJ45,10 GbE
1 x RJ45 dedicated management 3 x RJ45, 1 GbE
  1 x RJ45, dedicated for iDRAC
Management IPMI 2.0 with KVM over LAN Proprietary iDRAC with remote access
Density Up to 4 motherboards per U
(8 processors)
1 motherboard per U
(2 processors)
Cost $4189 $7139 web - $10776 list


Click here to use the Minimus Price Calculator
Ready to try it for yourself? Customize and price out your Minimus Servers in real time here.
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All You Need to Know About... Sustainability

Posted by Matt Solomon on February 9, 2016

The new metrics for data center efficiency and sustainability

While long considered the gold standard for measuring data center efficiency, PUE is not without its faults. For one, it only takes into account the efficiency of power usage (i.e. the ratio of total facility power to IT power). It can be a good measure of cooling system and facility efficiency, however, is does not take into account a holistic perspective of the environmental impact of a data center. To truly understand a data center’s impact on a broader environmental level, it is critical to measure the water usage and carbon emissions for which that data center may be responsible – both directly and indirectly.

As always, our All You Need to Know About... series just scratches the surface of a different subject for each entry, and to dive deep into all the data and specifics you'll want to download our corresponding White Paper "A Paradigm Shift in Data Center Sustainability".
Click here to Download Sustainability White Paper
Read the full White Paper on Data Center Sustainability

The Green Grid defines the following metrics for measuring the efficiency of a data center in terms of its water use and carbon emissions:

Water:
  • WUEsite = Annual Site Water Usage / IT Equipment Energy (in L/kWh)
  • WUEsource = Annual Energy Source Water Usage + Annual Site Water Usage / IT Equipment Energy (in L/kWh)
Carbon:
  • CUE = Total CO2 Emissions Caused by the Total Data Center Energy / IT Equipment Energy (kgCO2eq/ kWh)
A Paradigm Shift in Data Center Sustainability White Paper
Download A Paradigm Shift in Data Center Sustainability White Paper
Learn more about the metrics and how oil immersion cooling from GRC can help reduce your carbon and water footprint by up to 95%.

Have questions? Want to see how the CarnotJet system can cut your data center energy and costs? Contact us via a email at info@grcooling.com or by phone at +1(512) 692-8003.
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All You Need to Know About... ElectroSafe

Posted by Dhruv Varma on January 13, 2016
INTRODUCTION:

Today's post continues our series All You Need to Know About... with a "deep dive" into the magical liquid that makes it all possible – ElectroSafe. We'll look at all aspects of our coolant from fire safety to what makes it the perfect liquid for immersion cooling. For further reading, download the ElectroSafe Coolant Fact Sheet and FAQs for a brief one-page overview with information such as the NFPA fire diamond and coolant characteristics such as evaporation rate and density, then give our White Paper on the subject, Submerged Servers in the Data Center a read to discover how safe ElectroSafe really is.


What is ElectroSafe?

The ElectroSafe coolant, used in the CarnotJet liquid cooling system, is a clear, odorless, non-toxic blend of dielectric mineral oils. 
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