CARRI Systems HighServer XLR4 Blade
By   |  August 26, 2015

Make no mistake, below this English sounding product name lies a true French innovation. The HighServer XLR4 Blade is the result of a close collaboration between the French manufacturer CARRI Systems and Gigabyte. This server is aimed at the cloud gaming and the VDI markets.

Who could have imagined that one day we could turn a 2U chassis into a four-blade full-blown independent GPU solution ? Yet it is a French manufacturer who had the idea first. CARRI Systems, specializing in high performance IT solutions, who innovates to meet the needs of a market in which the issue was to be able to have a solution based on GPU accelerators with excellent performance / consumption / price . The R&D team of the Paris-based manufacturer did not hesitate to innovate around existing standards. In order to achieve this, they reviewed the arrangement of a server blade, removing the unnecessary parts and keeping the core. The HighServer XLR4 Blade is built around four independent blades with a Mini-ITX format motherbard in each blade. Which allows to clear enough space ti installe a fyull-blown professional graphics card or a GPU accelerator. To achieve these goals, technical teams have had to review the blade cooling flow to ensure good ventilation of the GPU and offer maximum performance. First presented publicly at the GTC 2014 in San Jose, the XLR4 HighServer Blade passed the certifications of different manufacturers with flying colors. The server is certified for Intel Xeon PHI cards, AMD FirePro, NVIDIA and NVIDIA Tesla Grid. CARRI Systems is now referenced by Nvidia as OEM manufacturer. A privilege that makes the French company a model.

The French manufacturer does not pretend to answer all the needs, but to fill a void in the HPC market. CARRI Systems also wanted its XLR 4 blade server to be Green IT compatible. This is probably what explains the motherboard to the Mini-ITX format embeds a processor. The latter can also be an Intel Xeon E3 v3. It offers many advantages over its big brother, the Xeon E5 series. Offering lower cost, lower frequency and lower consumption. The Xeon E3 v3 does not exceed 84 W while the E5 top version reaches 160 W. That is half the required power. The motherboard also has only two memory slots with a maximum capacity of 16GB. It may be low by today’s standards but sufficient for many applications and uses. However, being able to connect the GPU accelerator directly with the memory and the processor significantly increases the performance of the whole. Measurements done by our laboratory tests show the coherence of technological and technical choices of the French manufacturer. We were also impressed by the centralized redundant power supply capable of supporting a per-blade consumption of 400 W at full load. The HighServer XLR4 Blade has a minor limitation since it lacks network connectivity beyond Gigabit Ethernet. Nevertheless, this server is undoubtedly the ideal solution for expanding uses such as Cloud Gaming, VDI and HPC.

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