Open ZFS Presentation Among Much to See and Hear at LinuxCon North America

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The Linux and Open Source community is a great group of people!  We would not have the amazing array of open solutions that are available to us today without everyone working together and sharing their knowledge to make Linux and Open Source the best they can be.  Even the toughest IT challenges are no match for the power of the open source community!

One of our favorite things about being a part of this community is the willingness to help others that we see again and again.

In that vein, we would like to send a shout-out to our friends at LinuxCon North America, happening this week in New Orleans.  Some of the most influential individuals in the Linux community will be speaking at this conference.  But if you can’t make it to down to the Big Easy, don’t worry!  The keynotes are available for streaming live online, so you won’t miss a word of these interesting talks.

Here at Pogo, we are eagerly anticipating the presentation about the Open ZFS project. ZFS has always been a great file system but now that it is available on Linux, it opens a whole new set of doors in terms of what’s possible with open storage. If you are at the conference, be sure to check it out.  If not, check back here — we’ll post the link when it becomes available after the event.

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Royal Baby, Schmoyal Baby – Pogo Has TWINS!

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Twin servers, that is!

Good Things Come in Small Packages

What are twin servers? In a nutshell, twin servers give you the same computing power for less rackspace — with the added bonus of a lower initial capital cost and increased energy efficiency. By combining multiple compute nodes into a single chassis, you can free up 50% of your rack space without sacrificing processor performance or memory capacity. These twins may be tiny, but they are mighty. From big data and fast insights to web 2.0, mobile development, always-on connectivity, and hosted services, twin servers can do it all.

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Deja Vu?

Now you may be thinking you’ve heard this story before, back when blade servers arrived on the scene. Twins carry some of the same advantages as blade servers but in a much simpler package with greater flexibility.  This makes twins a much better answer for general-purpose computing.  Twins have their own exposed interfaces, so there are no backplanes to aggregate networking, KVM, etc. This flexibility and lack of failure points can make management and troubleshooting easier than a complete blade infrastructure.

Twin chassis typically support 2 or 4 nodes at a time, compared to 7-10 in a blade enclosure. These smaller numbers make it more cost-effective for customers to grow their infrastructure, and eliminates the need to buy an expensive blade chassis for only a few nodes. The nodes in twin servers are not as small as typical blade nodes, striking a good balance that allows for large memory footprints and high GHz processors, just like a full size server.

Power Savings – Form Meets Function

Each system node in a twin server has its own power supply — only the power plane in the chassis is shared. The twin server chassis is designed for optimized airflow, so you get optimum cooling and reduced power consumption. This helps keep cooling costs down, with a 47-degree Celsius ambient temperature max, even in the free-air-cooled environments of some data center configurations.

Show Me The Money: Rackmount Servers vs. Twin Servers

There are twin server options for almost any use case, including GPU and quad CPU. Some have up to eight system nodes, supporting some of the largest 3.5” HDDs available – even solid-state flash drives. IPMI allows complete remote management just like a regular rackmount server. The administrative benefits of managing more computing in less space and the ability to deliver twice the compute-density via parallel system nodes in one server are just a couple of twin servers’ many financial advantages.

We ran a cost analysis comparing one 2U Iris 2621 Twin Server with 4 nodes against four identically-configured 1U Iris 1261 rackmount servers. The hardware components included dual 6-core Intel Xeon e5 Series 2.0 CPUs, 32GB DDR3 memory (2x 16GB), and one 100GB SATA solid-state drives.

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These two Pogo system configurations yielded the same computing output, based on the hardware (CPUs, memory, and hard drives). But thanks to its shared power and cooling components, the twin server came in at $1,405 less than the rackmount server. That’s an almost-12% cost-savings per node, without even factoring in the yearly electrical cost savings over the course of the product’s lifecycle.

So?

Soooo, if you’re an SMB with four or more servers, your organization is the ideal candidate to deploy a twin server, with the ability to scale-up your infrastructure down the road. Smaller businesses with growing IT needs may even save enough in energy costs by switching to twin servers to realize an immediate payback! (And considering the rising cost of electricity in some cities, the sooner an your IT department makes the switch, the sooner you would realize a return on your twin server investment!)

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Familiarity with growing computing needs is essential to assessing whether a twin server strategy will adequately address forecasted computing needs, rising electricity costs, or space limitations. Pogo Linux offers two twin server models to meet your needs – the powerful Iris 1225 1U twin server with dual system-node capabilities, and the highly-dense Iris 2641 2U twin server with up to four system-nodes (as featured in our cost-analysis).

Not sure how much twin server provisioning you need? Give us a call at (888) 828-POGO), and we’ll help you “bring home” twins!

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Get hooked on LSI Nytro MegaRAID and add up to a 47x performance boost!

Long, long ago in a data center far, far away, there was one choice for storage.  Spinning media hard disks were the only option for fast storage, high-capacity storage, and anything in between.  In that time, let’s just call it BSSD (Before Solid State Disk) there were only two ways to get more IOPs out of a system: use a higher-RPM hard drive, or use more hard drives.  Unfortunately, both of these strategies were limited by cost and performance.

When SSDs arrived, the promise of 10x, 20x, even 30x better performance was thrilling.  But the astronomical price per gigabyte meant that most users still chose spinning disk. Since then, prices have come down on SSDs, making them more attractive for those who want extreme performance on smaller datasets, but most applications that require high capacity still use spinning media because of the higher price of SSD deployments.

If only there was a way to combine the cost and size advantages of spinning media with the extreme performance of SSD …

Enter LSI Nytro MegaRAID

LSI Corp. realized that in most cases, only a small amount of data is frequently used, so the ability to situate the most frequently accessed data (“hot spots”) on lower-latency flash would provide significant performance gains.  You would still need a caching solution for these hot spots, but by caching the data for reading and writing using SSD-based technology, an array of large disks could have almost SSD-like performance without an SSD-like price:

“As a rule of thumb, 20% of data within a database are responsible for 75% of I/O transactions. Nytro MegaRAID intelligently and seamlessly manages the 20% of IO-intensive data within performance-optimized, integrated flash that – paired with its HDD connectivity – delivers the best combination of performance and capacity.”

LSI designed Nytro MegaRAID from the ground up, raising the bar on functionality by integrating RAID, caching, and flash capabilities into a single controller.  Nytro takes regular MegaRAID and adds intelligent caching algorithms to assist the HDD array by identifying hot spots, and promoting them to faster on-board flash storage, reducing system latency – in some cases, by up to 47x.  This sophisticated read-write caching software algorithm is ideal for addressing a wide variety of I/O bottlenecks in the data center, or the cloud.

The newest Nytro MegaRAID models feature 200GB and 800GB of on-board flash capacity to scale-up application acceleration performance with a larger cache footprint.  These Nytro cards feature models with either internal or external ports so, in addition to attaching internal storage, systems can also be expanded externally with up to 128 devices per port. This enables a single head node to access huge storage capacities with all the advantages of the Nytro caching technology.

Obviously, we are very amped on Nytro and think it is a great technology.  But how does it integrate into the Pogo Linux server line-up?

Video Demonstration

Download the LSI Nytro MegaRAID Product Brief

Now Available – Nytro MegaRAID-enabled Systems

Almost every one of our servers can be upgraded with a Nytro card to increase performance. Especially on the 2U-4U storage servers, this makes perfect sense when using a lot of high-capacity disks. Performance is greatly increased with the inherent SSD caching, but users still get all the large cap storage they need. Faster Performance – Nytro MegaRAID caches frequently accessed storage locationsreducing-latencies onto the embedded SandForce flash device, enabling the controller to deliver response times 100 times faster than spinning HDDs alone.  This extends your hardware investments by making application storage more economical, and also allows high-performance access during HDD rebuild times (degraded mode), when requests come from flash storage. Smarter Computing – Similar to the MegaRAID card, LSI’s leading dual-core RAID-on-Chip (ROC) technology performs the usual RAID tasks and cache management on the Nytro MegaRAID.  However, during Nytro MegaRAID operation, the flash storage starts to fill with frequently accessed data which can be immediately retrieved from flash storage – instead of the slower HDDs.

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Check out the Iris 426-24 and Iris 426-36 for perfect examples of storage servers that take full advantage of everything Nytro MegaRAID has to offer.  Configure a Nytro MegaRAID application acceleration server online today, or give us a call at (888) 828-POGO to speak with a knowledgeable sales advisor.

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The wait is over — Intel Core 4th Generation Haswell-based Linux Workstations are now available

In the past week, you may have already heard a lot about Intel’s new fourth-generation Core processors (codenamed “Haswell”), as they are being adopted in a slew of mobility products, such as the new Macbook Air announcement at WWCC and a next-generation fanless HP tablet to be released later this year. This speaks volumes to technology’s advancements in integrated graphics and improved energy-efficiency.

As the successor to Ivy Bridge, Haswell offers quite a bit of performance and computing benefits for regular desktop computing as well, which is why we believe you’ll want to incorporate Haswell-based workstation as part of a widespread hardware refresh at work, especially if you’ve skipped a generation or two.

‘Tick-Tock’ Release Cycle

The new Intel® Core™ processors are the “tock” of Intel’s tick-tock processor release cycle, meaning it’s a new architecture based on an existing manufacturing die process; a “tick” release would see the launch of a new manufacturing process on an a previous architecture.  The Haswell is built on the new 22-nanometer (nm) architecture that requires an integrated voltage controller, which means they will only be compatible with desktop motherboards that support the new Socket 1150 processor socket.

Just like previous Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge releases, Intel will be releasing Haswell CPUs in stages, starting with the high-end Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs before trickling down to the Core i3’s.  All Haswell end-users will benefit from improved performance and more powerful cores:

Increased Performance – Using the 22nm manufacturing process, Haswell builds off the performance gains achieved by Ivy Bridge (up to 18%), by delivering as much as a 15% computing increase in the newest Core processors.

More Powerful Cores – In addition to a larger caching bandwidth (double the L1-cache and L2-cache to 64 bytes/cycle), the main reason for the performance boost is the increase in the number of operations executed per clock cycle from six to eight.  This diminishes the likelihood of unnecessary operations being performed, decreasing latency and improving bandwidth.

Reduced Power Consumption – Intel predicts that lower-end Haswell desktop processors may consume as little as 15 watts compared with the 35 watt consumption of previous generations.  This lower energy consumption is particularly significant for processors built into desktops and workstations, as this scaled down power draw means cooler chips and reduced heatsink and fan sizes.

Finally, thanks to it’s low power state known as S0ix, Haswell-built systems offer a wake-from-sleep state in under three seconds vs. seven seconds of previous generations.

Now Available: Haswell-based Core i5/i7 Linux Workstations

To celebrate this nanoengineering milestone on a silicon wafer, Pogo has built not one but three Haswell-based Intel Core Linux workstation offerings, each uniquely equipped to meet your specific business needs.

Tempest T2H Workstation – Starting at $1,884, get an extremely quiet mid-tower workstation with water cooling that deliver the highest computing performance with nearly silent operation under your desk. Configure up to a quad-core Intel Core i5/i7 CPU and up to 32GB of DDR3 memory.

Verona 930H Workstation – Starting at $1,282, tackle resource-intensive applications with quad-core Intel Core i5/i7 CPUs, four SAS or SATA SSD/HDDs, up to 32GB DDR3 memory in a mid-tower form factor.

Verona 931H Workstation – Starting at $1,218, this system is similar to the Verona 930, however, it features the Intel C226 Express chipset motherboard with PCI-Express 3.0 slots for even greater functionality and expansion.

Next up for the Haswell will be versions for the Xeon processors for rackmount servers and storage systems.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted, as we are eagerly awaiting these core innovations coming to the data center.

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Win the Tempest T1 Water Cooled Workstation during the World Famous Raffle at Linuxfest Northwest!

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Spring is here! This is one of our favorite times of year – baseball is back, the swallows return to Capistrano, and most importantly, Linuxfest Northwest returns to Bellingham Technical College. Join us this upcoming weekend (April 27-28) to learn, share, and network with Open Source experts and hobbyists from around the Pacific Northwest!  Participate in a variety of FREE sessions, join the discussions, or try your luck in the raffle. You could win our all-new Pogo Tempest T1 Water Cooled Workstation at the World Famous Raffle!

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A Water Cooled, Powerful and Noise-Free Workstation…for Work?

After a long day supporting customers and working on the latest server and storage products, spending an evening at home on a custom-built, high-end gaming system is a great way to unwind. There are so many technological innovations in the PC space, specifically designed for PC gaming.  What’s interesting is that the same innovations and technology are rarely seen in the commercial space — especially in higher education, life sciences, medical and financial services fields.

Typically, systems classified as “workstations” are large, loud, and a bit cumbersome for office use.  More and more, individuals in these fields come to Pogo looking for extremely powerful systems to use at their desks.  They want high-frequency processors, tons of ram, CUDA and RAID support.

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We’ve often wondered, “Why aren’t the awesome technologies found in home gaming PCs being used in standard research workstations?”  That question led us to develop the new Pogo Linux Tempest T1 workstation.  Combining gaming technology with the requirements of researchers, the Tempest is a fast, quiet workstation that doesn’t require its own room.

Intel® Core i7 Sandy Bridge E-Series Extreme Edition

The Tempest T1 is based on the new Intel Core I7 “Sandy Bridge-E” Series in the LGA2011 socket. This allows us to run the fastest Core i7 processors — up to 4.0 GHz!  It also allows for a max memory load-out of 64 GB, the most you can run on a single processor.

In keeping with the gaming theme, the Tempest’s hot Core i7 Extreme Edition processor “keeps its cool” with a closed-loop water cooling system that requires no maintenance.  The system supports the best graphics cards available, such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX TITAN, Nvidia Quadro Series, and the AMD Radeon and Firepro lines, for fast operation and support of CUDA and OpenCL optimized applications.

Here’s all the complete hardware line-up to review!


• Intel® Core i7 Sandy Bridge E-Series Extreme Edition CPU up to 4.0GHz
• Intel® LGA2011 Socket Motherboard
• Up to 64GB DDR 1333MHz ECC Reg Memory – the most available in a single CPU system!
• GeForce, Quadro or ATI Radeon PCI Express Graphics Card Options
• (2) Up to 6 SATA or SAS HDD, or SAS SSDs
• Optional LSI® 3ware RAID SAS Controller
• Extreme Performance Water Cooling w/ Silent Operation – to keep it nearly-silent!
• Black Mid-Tower ATX Chassis with 1050 Watt Power Supply

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We combined these features with enterprise-class RAID solutions from LSI to support up to six enterprise-class SSD’s or hard disks for fast data transfer. All this, in a sleek black chassis with a price tag that won’t break your research-grant budget!

Visit the Pogo Linux website and configure a Tempest T1 here.

 

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Pogo Linux offers a wide range of servers and workstations for just about every IT project or budget. From a virtualized environment to a high performance cluster, Pogo Linux helps IT departments reduce cost with open platform solutions custom designed to achieve the most for the least cost. Discover how Pogo Linux can help you find solutions to your problems by contacting sales@pogolinux.com or calling (888) 828-POGO (7646) to speak with a trusted sales engineer.

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