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Feature: Interview with Appro about its new XtremeServers
Posted by Maria McLaughlin, Wednesday February 22 2006 @ 01:28PM EST

Q: Tell us about XtremeServers. Are these products available? If so, what are the details?

A. Appro XtremeServers are Appro's next generation 1U and 3U products. The availability of these new servers expands the XtremeServer product line Appro launched last year when it introduced XtremeBlade. The new 1U and 3U XtremeServers provide innovated server technology designed to deliver outstanding performance and reliability with extreme memory scalability for compute and memory intensive applications.

It is important to say that these new XtremeServers are the first server product line where Appro is also dictating the design and feature sets of the motherboard. One of the important features in these servers design is that our motherboard comes with eight memory slots per processor instead of only four slots supported by other motherboard manufactures. This provides to our customers enormous system memory flexibility. The APPRO 1U XtremeServer allows up to 64GB of on-board memory while the APPRO 3U XtremeServer permits up to 128GB. In addition, these servers configured with Dual-Core AMD Opteron processors deliver performance equal to servers with up to double the number of CPUs providing tremendous processing power and a perfect fit for compute and memory intensive applications. That is a new paradigm for server memory availability!

Q. How Appro XtremeServers differentiate from other server manufacturers and how can customers benefit from this?

A. From 1991 to year 2000, Appro was one of the largest OEM rack mount computer systems manufacturers in the United States. Appro’s background was to build and provide high quality systems for Tier 1 suppliers such as Cisco and Sun. With that background, Appro Changed its business Model in the year 2000 and start offering its own line of Appro-branded high-density servers for the high performance computing markets offering commodity motherboards built in its own Appro’s backplane design, power supply and chassis. The Xtreme product line is the first where Appro is also dictating the design and feature sets of the motherboard as well. Customers’ requirements are important to us and by keeping tight control over the design of the entire server gives us leading edge to deliver the feature set that customers’ require. Appro is accelerating the process to accommodate that demand. By controlling the motherboard feature and revision as well as bio changes, make it easier for us to customize customers’ requirement delivering faster and innovative product to market.

Q. What do you see as the markets that will most benefit from XtremeServers based on AMD Opteron processors and how this appeal to IT technology needs today?

A. Many markets will benefit. Most particularly industries in that are using applications which are memory intensive, either for financial simulation, Electronic Design simulation, Oil and Gas Seismic simulation, database, web serving, or any engineering applications which require maximum memory performance to improve their system efficiency and application performance for computers running multiple applications at the same time or compute-intensive multi-threaded applications will see an immediate benefit. The XtremeServers will increase memory performance for the traditional high-performance computing (HPC) and commercial applications while adding reliability and flexibility for the end-users with the best performance/value. In addition with AMD Direct Connect Architecture drastically improving the memory and I/O latency makes 64 bit applications their way into the marketplace. It provides a much easier way to address larger chunks of memory faster yielding huge performance boosts. However, even 32 bit applications will run faster and better in the new architecture. In the end we see this technology as being completely pervasive.

Q. Tell me the key features of the 1U XtremeServers and the 3U XtremeServers?

A. The two-way 1U XtremeServer features up to two Single- or Dual-Core AMD Opteron processors and eight DIMM sockets per CPU – providing up to 64GB of memory per server. In addition, the APPRO 1U XtremeServer allows for up to 800GB SATA or 292GB SCSI hot-swappable drives, one PCI-X, and one PCI Express x16.

The Four-way 3U XtremeServer features up features up to four Single- or Dual-Core AMD Opteron processors and eight DIMM sockets per CPU – providing up to 128GB of memory per server, up to 2.4TB SATA or 876GB SCSI hot-swappable drives, up to three PCI-Express and three PCI-X slots, and redundant power supplies and fans.

Appro offers a choice of Windows or Linux Operating Systems for its products. In addition, XtremeServers provide ServerDome remote management capabilities. Appro offers ServerDome management solution as part of Appro’s comprehensive server solution – the differentiator is that we include this in the price of the server, we do not charge extra for it like some other tier 1 OEMs.

Q. How easy is to service them?

A. XtremeServers provide cable-free design and they come ready to run. Also they are very simple to install, service and maintain. In addition, Appro offers a variety of customer support packages to include an account technician assigned to your account, access to service call management, customized services requests, equipment pre-configured before it is shipped for on-site repair, 24 x 7 x 365 onsite service, depot repair services, tracking of IT fixed assets to include defective part retrieval and certified help desk technicians.

Q. What would be the best operating system to use with the new XtremeServers?

A. Opteron is certified with most operating systems. You are going to get a great experience from Microsoft or Linux among others. Ultimately 64 bit-based operating systems will give you better performance than a 32 bit OS.

Q .What are the ideal applications to run in the 1U XtremeServers?

A. The 1U XtremeServer The APPRO 1U XtremeServer is a perfect foundation for supercomputing clusters for customers who require a flexible density-optimized 1U server. Supported enterprise applications include Beowulf clusters, financial modeling, compute farms, digital rendering, seismic analysis, video streaming, web hosting, complex custom application development, or other applications requiring higher floating-point and memory bandwidth performance.

Q. What are the ideal applications to run in the 3U XtremeServers?

A. The Appro 3U XtremeServers brings even more power, impressive memory scaling, and end-user flexibility. This server is ideal for large compute-intensive applications such as mechanical and engineering graphic simulation and rendering, computational fluid dynamics, scientific visualization, and digital content creation.

Q. How does AMD collaborate with Appro in this product announcement? What part do they play and how will this collaboration benefit customers?

A. Appro XtremeServers offer an innovative solution by combining performance advantages of AMD Opteron processors, for example, AMD PowerNow!™ technology with Optimized Power Management (OPM) which provides performance-on-demand by dynamically adjusting performance based on CPU utilization – helping systems to run at optimum performance and power levels, reducing electricity costs while maximizing IT budget dollars. Appro XtremeServers are designed to provide that versatility and performance for all business sizes - from a multi-tiered web environment and High Performance Computing to a single-function application. In addition, AMD Dual-core delivers greater performance than the single-core offerings. The dual-core product requires additional memory bandwidth and benefits from reduced memory latency. Direct Connect Architecture meets these increasing demands much more efficiently than the front-side bus architecture of our competitor. This provides great performance advantage delivered by the Opteron solution.

AMD has provided us with the tools and technology to accelerate business results. Working together, Appro and AMD provide customer-focused innovations that our High-Performance and Enterprise computing customers' require.

Q. What market segments will be affected by these new products?

A .The segments would be grouped by Application rather than vertical, because the Scientific, Financial and Oil and Gas for example, share similar needs in HPC. Therefore, our market segment could be made up of Compute farms and Database applications. In addition, XtremeServers would play heavily in addressing the needs of a wide variety of applications that require compute and memory intensive performance while satisfying the needs for higher reliability.

Q. Where does Appro AMD Opteron based servers go from here?

A. We believe that AMD will continue to provide industry-leading solutions. AMD was the first to introduce a dual-core offering in the server market. AMD has already announced that they will be introducing multi-core products in the near future. In addition, they will be extending the Direct Connect Architecture to provide enhanced CPU cores, increased memory bandwidth and even higher speed IO bandwidth. We feel that with the availability of our next generation products: XtremeServers and XtremeBlade based on AMD Opteron processors, Appro will make a significant contribution to the High Performance and Enterprise computing markets. We look forward to make first shipments of these new products and continue to look ahead for more product innovations to meet and exceed our customer’s expectations.


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