Leaderboard Apex GMS

"APEX" S2U

Enterprise Modular 2U Short Rack, Total Rack Server/Switch/NAS/Flex I/O

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Quick Specifications
- 2U high, 19-inch air-cooled rack mount server
- Dual socket Intel® Xeon® E5 v4, 22 Cores each CPU
- 1 TB DDR4 with ECC, 2133 MT/s
- 7 modular, hot-swap subsystems, VPX-based
- GMS FlexIO backplane, PCIe Gen 3 at 8 Gbps (20 Gbps-capable)
- Ethernet up to 6x 40GbE (fiber or copper), 2x 10GbE, 22x 1GbE
- Layer 2/3 intelligent Ethernet switch; Cisco® ESR 5921 router
- 12x SAS-3, SATA III, NVMe (PCIe 3) drive trays (up to 144 TB)
- Hardware RAID: 0, 1, 5, 10, 50, plus Intel RSTe software RAID
- Hardware direct-to-disk encryption for Mass Storage drives
- 2x USB 3.0, HDMI console video (no audio)
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 (no DisplayPort) with Power Delivery
- FlexIO™ four-slot x16 PCIe card cage
- XPANSE™ module extends FlexIO™ external to Apex
- 3x N+1 redundant 3U VPX 600 W (max) power supplies, AC/DC with charging
- Built-in APU hold-up for graceful shutdown, suspend-to-disk
- BMC for fan, temp control, IPMI-based out-of-band management
- TPM 2.0 for secure root-of-trust and crypto key authentication

Internal Storage for OS
- M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0, via removable drive tray. (Up to 2 TB as of February 2018)

External Storage/NAS
- 12x drive trays supporting PCIe 3.0 NVMe, SATA III, and SAS Gen 3 (Up to 96 TB using 8 TB NVMe)
- Hardware RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, 50 and custom
- Controller-side encryption for self-encrypting (OPAL), FIPS-197 and FIPS-140-2 HDD and SSDs

RAID
- Software RAID via Intel RSTe; hardware RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and 50

I/O Expansion
- 4x PCIe Gen 3 x16 COTS card slots, 5x SAM I/O PCIe-Mini 1x XMC/M.2
- XPANSE™ module (replaces COM module) with two iPass™ connectors for PCIe Gen 3 FlexIO™ backplane
- expansion to separate expansion chassis (example: One Stop Systems™ 4UV, CUBE or ExpressBox)

Networking
- 2x 40 GbE on CPU, 2x 10 GbE on COM; up to 4x 40 GbE on XPANSE™ replaces COM module), 22 1 GbE on COM
- Integral 22 port intelligent switch with Layer 2/3 routing (40 GbE ports can be copper or fiber)

Ethernet Options
- 22 Ethernet ports support Power over Ethernet+ (POE+), 25 W per port (150 W total)

Router Options
- Cisco® ESR 5921 embedded router on 4 of 22 Ethernet ports

Power Supply
- 1500 W max via 3x 600 W hot-swap 3U VPX modules, organized as N+1 redundancy;
- AC and DC available; smart charging for optional APU

Aux Power Unit
- Supports power hold-up to enable orderly shutdown or suspend; available in Li-Ion, lead acid, other chemistries

RAS Features
- All sub-systems swappable and modular
- Blade-based motherboard replaceable and upgradeable to next-generation scalable Intel® Xeon® platform
- Removable SSDs can be encrypted; available as SAS-3, SATA III, and NVMe
- Front panel cover LEDs provide visible system health status

 

Apex: The “Forever” Server System

In today’s energy-conscious data center, efficient server design pays big total cost of ownership (TCO) dividends by balancing power consumption, performance, and shelf/floor space. It’s astounding that a majority of servers on the market rely on commodity motherboards and power supplies designed off-shore only for lowest price at the expense of whole-system energy efficiency and rack density. Apex codifies everything we know about military reliability, security, and SWaP into a rackmount server.

Apex, by General Micro Systems (GMS), is a revolutionary 2U short rack (22-inch) modular blade server system designed for subsystem modularity, maximum performance at Gen 3 speeds (8 Gbps), flexible add-in, and add-on options—all based upon VPX interconnects with military system reliability. Applied to defense, high-reliability, or enterprise applications, Apex replaces up to 17U of equipment in a mere 2U height yet still offers the ultimate RAS (reliability, availability, serviceability) in a single-box delivering total-rack performance.

Single-Chassis for Virtual Peripherals, Plus Extension Chassis

The Apex 2U server system is intended for commercial/industrial/military/defense/aerospace and is designed to do more than “check the boxes” on processor, memory and I/O requirements. Combining CPU, RAID NAS with direct-to-disk NVMe SSDs, Ethernet switch and router, APU, and PCIe add-in I/O into only 2U saves rack space while reducing the aisle load on power and cooling. Apex also “extends” outside the server’s box into other chassis—when there’s need for more I/O or algorithm processing—via the XPANSE™ module and FlexIO™ backplane that closely couples together every subsystem within Apex.

Properly configured, the server runs bare metal virtual machines, virtualized networks, and software-defined storage.

The latest 22-core Intel® Xeon® E5 v4 processors are coupled with up to 1 TB of DDR4 RAM for a massive 88 virtual machines (VMs), high-performance cache look-up and database transaction processing. GMS’s patent-pending internal FlexIO™ multi-dimensional switch fabric matrix pipes data at 8 Gbps wire speed to all of Apex’s modules simultaneously to maximize transaction processing, packet processing or storage IOPS.

Software-defined networking (SDN), software-defined storage (SDS), and network functional virtualization (NFV) are handled all in one box and in a mere 2U—making Apex the most space- and energy-efficient server on the market. Onboard 10 and 40 Gb Ethernet ports are the industry’s fastest.

FlexIO™ Multi-dimensional Backplane

The Apex architecture is different from commodity servers. All subsystems in Apex use the MIL-SPEC proven VPX architecture, connecting to 80 processor-side PCI Express Gen 3 lanes on the FlexIO™ low-latency switched fabric. This patent-pending fabric architecture assures that all subsystems—including those outside of Apex’s chassis—communicate at a nominal 8 Gbps via PCIe Gen 3.

This generates massive CPU capability, IOPS and transaction performance unheard of in a typical 2U form factor. Apex is more like a supercomputer on a single rack shelf. FlexIO™ extends outside of Apex at 8 Gbps to external chassis where additional modules can be added for more processing, storage, networking and custom I/O. The FlexIO™ cable plant is capable of speeds up to 20 Gbps, ready for technology insertion when it becomes available.

Subsystem Modularity; System Management

Apex contains six hot-swap modules which minimize down-time through easy sparing. Instead of the entire server being the lowest unit for upgrade, with Apex each VPX-based module can be upgraded as technology or use needs change.

Performance enhancements, different memory sizes, and disk types can all be changed as the data center and workload needs evolve. For example, SAS-3 drives can be replaced with newer PCIe Gen 3 NVMe drives with an instant drive tray exchange. The system reconfigures on-the-fly. Of course, with Apex the industry’s fastest NVMe drives are standard. Hardware RAID is built into the Mass Storage module; the system I/O module uses software RAID.

The Mass Memory subsystem, with hardware encryption and hardware RAID (0, 1, 5, 10, 50) with eight removable drive bays is also itself removable as a transportable and encrypted unit. The system I/O subsystem, with four removable drives, is removable as a unit and supports software RAID and encryption. Also, an optional docking station allows the storage subsystems to be used stand-alone outside of Apex.

Dozens of in-system sensors monitor temperature, voltage and system health to a granularity unavailable in competing commodity servers. For example, individual smart fans report status via the onboard BMC and will spin up or down based upon pre-defined or programmable system profiles. This allows maximum cooling, minimum noise, or other workload/energy optimization. The BMC provides local and remote management plane out-of-band monitoring and control.

Powerful, Yet Backed-up

Apex is powered by GMS-designed hot-swappable MIL-SPEC AC or DC 3U VPX power modules each delivering 600 W (max.) and designed to handle “dirty” power and also charge the APU battery. These modules offer unheard of power density yet are not only reliable, they’re based upon GMS military-deployed designs.

Intended for an N+1 redundant configuration, each module has the ability to work with the others to charge the optional APU. As well, Apex is unique by utilizing a single 12 VDC power rail to all modules that eliminates the power-wasting multi-voltages found in commodity servers. In effect, Apex packs more intelligent modules and performance in 2U but does it with less energy/U height.

The APU provides several minutes of hold-up, enough to provide a smooth system shut down during a power event. This is particularly useful as a back-up feature to a rack’s APU, adding a layer of redundancy and confidence to a SysOP via Apex’s “total rack” approach. The APU can be ordered with a variety of battery chemistries including Li-Ion and lead-acid.

More I/O Exceeds Expectations

Apex goes beyond commodity servers and their “CPU-Memory-Ethernet-Storage” baseline. An on-board 22-port intelligent Layer 2/3 Ethernet switch (all ports with POE+) eliminates the need for a separate Ethernet switch, saving 1U of rack space. Additionally, the “basic” Apex server includes dual 40GbE ports and dual 10GbE ports as the fastest connectivity to up/down-stream servers, switches and LAN pipes. An optional Cisco™ ESR 5921 router is available.

Connecting to the Apex FlexIO™ PCIe Gen 3 backplane, the PCIe cage subsystem has four slots for full-size PCIe x16 add-in cards, double the number offered by commodity servers—if they offer slots at all. Available add-ins include: Fibre Channel, GPU, compute node GPGPU engines including the Nvidia P6000 Pascal business “deep learning” engine, and block chain hash engines.

The XPANSE™ module can be substituted for the Ethernet switch/router subsystem, providing two industry-standard iPass™ connectors and four QSFP+ sockets. Via iPass™, two x16 PCIe Gen 3 "pipes" connect external devices and expansion chassis to Apex’s FlexIO™ backplane. Each QSFP+ can be fitted with 10/40 Gb Ethernet for expansion and inter-rack communication.

Why General Micro Systems and Apex

General Micro Systems (GMS) has been supplying high-reliability and TEMPEST equipment to the U.S. Military and international MODs since 1979. Our rugged boards, small form factor systems, displays and servers have been trusted and deployed on ships, in aircraft, in ground vehicles and worn on warfighters into battle. Designed to survive the harshest environments, the systems are unique in their modularity: they can be upgraded over time as technology and user needs change.

These same characteristics for reliability, serviceability and long-life support are applied to Apex, creating the most reliable, dense and energy-efficient/cubic-inch 2U rack mount server in the market.

Maintenance, Warranty, Life-cycle

Apex has a standard 3-year parts and labor warranty against failure of any module or the complete system (drives excluded), with an optional 48-hour drop-ship turnaround for replacement modules (domestic only; 72-hour for most international).

Additionally, an exchange upgrade credit is offered during the warranty period. If a newer standard module is available, the customer can exchange an existing module for a credit applied to the newer replacement module.

A standard annual maintenance contract is available that provides service and technical support for non-warranty items. Contact GMS for details.