With support for Haswell-based Xeons up to 18 cores and 256GB RAM Fujitsu is set to bring its 1U rack machine into the age of virtual workstations
This month Fujitsu gave DEVELOP3D an exclusive preview of its next generation remote workstation, the Fujitsu Celsius C740. Designed and manufactured in Germany, the 1U rack mount machine may look like its predecessor, the Celsius C620, but there’s a whole host of improvements.
Beefier CPUs, more memory, updated graphics and faster storage are pretty much a given for any new generation workstation so the most significant change is the fact that each Celsius C740 can realistically support up to eight 3D CAD users in a virtualised environment. It is Fujitsu’s first proper virtual workstation in a dedicated rack form factor. In theory the Celsius C620 could also be configured as a virtual workstation (realistically for two users) but it was as a dedicated 1:1 remote workstation that it really gained favour with automotive firms and suppliers.
In developing the Celsius C740 Fujitsu knew it needed a virtual workstation to service large manufacturing firms who are getting increasingly serious about virtualisation. However, it also needed to balance this with customers that still want to give their CAD users dedicated workstations. This could be for optimum performance thanks to Teradici’s PCoIP technology or ease of deployment (think SMEs who might not have the IT skills to get involved in the complexities of virtualisation).
With a single multi-core Haswell-based Xeon processor in 1U form factor, the Celsius C740 looks well equipped to support both types of customers.
In a datacentre rack the 1U machine can deliver the same density of users as a typical 2U virtual workstation, such as the dual processor Dell Precision R7610 or HP DL380z virtual workstation. However, when used as a dedicated 1:1 remote workstation, manufacturing firms can cram in twice as many CAD users because of the 1U chassis.
The main enabler for this improved flexibility is broader processor support. Whereas the Fujitsu Celsius C620 offered a limited number of quad core Intel Xeon E3-1200 v2 CPUs, the Celsius C740 has moved up to the server-class Intel Xeon E5-1600 v3 and Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3. There’s massive choice of processors from four cores up to 18 cores to a maximum of 145W.
In addition, there’s a significantly improved memory capacity — 256GB DDR4 (ECC) memory compared to 32GB (ECC or Non ECC) DDR3. This not only means the Celsius C740 can deliver more CAD-capable virtual machines but high-end CAD or CAE users are now able to work with much more complex models, also on a 1:1 connection if desired.
Of course, more powerful components need more power and the rack workstation has a new 800W PSU which boasts Platinum 2nd Gen efficiency up to 92%. Borrowed from Fujitsu’s Primergy server range the quick release unit can be swapped out easily in event of a failure — an improvement over the Celsius C620.
Naturally, with the additional heat generated by CPU and memory, cooling has been enhanced. Fujitsu says it has put a lot of investment into this, with its R&D unit in Augsburg, Germany exploring various combinations of heat sinks, fan speeds and air guides.
There has also been a significant change in graphics but this is only really relevant to those deploying the machine as a 1:1 remote workstation or with GPU passthrough, rather than a fully featured virtual workstation with virtual GPUs.
There is support for new generation Nvidia Quadro GPUs up to the Quadro K5200 and enhanced support for AMD FirePro GPUs, which now go all the way up to the FirePro W9100.
The machine can be fitted with one double height card or two single height cards, such as the AMD FirePro W7100 or Nvidia Quadro K4200. The Celsius C620 was only able to support one add-in GPU (single or double height).
There is no change to virtualised graphics with a single Nvidia GRID K2 remaining the GPU of choice.
For compute, the Celsius C740 does offer Intel Xeon Phi and Nvidia Tesla. However, as these are double height cards it would then leave the machine severely lacking in GPU power, reverting to on-board Matrox graphics which is not suitable for CAD.
There have been a couple of tweaks to storage including support for a 256GB or 512GB M.2 SSD module, which plugs directly into the motherboard. With data moving over the PCIe bus Fujitsu claims these modules offer at least triple the sequential read/write performance of SATA-based SSDs (in some cases as much as 4x).
In addition, the motherboard now has support for SATA DOM (Serial ATA Disk on Module). Fujitsu says there is some demand from customers to put hypervisors on these tiny modules for boot up. The virtual machine would then be collected from the network via optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet.
For more standard storage, up to four 2.5-inch drives, including 10K SAS drives and SSDs, can be accessed from the front of the machine. These are cold plug though so the machine needs to powered down in the event of a drive failure.
Manageability has also been improved with Fujitsu replacing the Celsius C620’s rudimentary codeline connection with a GUI-based technology adopted from its Primergy Server platform. Fujitsu ServerView features status monitoring of components and can provide control and diagnostics for faults even when the machine is powered down (as long as the PSU is working). Embedded Lifecycle Management (eLCM) also helps keep the machine up to date with firmware and drivers. These are automatically downloaded to a MicroSD card and then installed to a defined schedule.
With the Celsius C740 Fujitsu has delivered the rack mounted virtual workstation that was clearly missing from its portfolio. However, by sticking with a 1U chassis it has also kept one eye on manufacturing supply chain customers that might not have the technical expertise or the need to go all out for a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment. This gives it an interesting and unique proposition among Tier One workstation manufacturers.
The Celsius C740 is still being fine tuned and will be available in June. Fujitsu will work with VMWare and Citrix to get their respective virtualisation software stacks certified. Plans are also in place to get the machine certified for CAD tools including Siemens NX, PTC Creo, Dassault Systèmes Catia and Autodesk Inventor.
» Processor Intel Xeon E5-1600 v3 family up to 8 cores or 3.7 GHz or Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 family up to 18 cores or 2.6 GHz
» Memory Up to 256GB DDR-2,133MHz registered ECC » 2.5-inch drives Up to four cold plug 2.5-inch drives (SSDs up to 512 GB / HDD SAS 10k)
» Additional storage 256GB or 512GB M.2 SSD + SATA DOM (Serial ATA Disk on Module)
» GPU 1 x double height GPU or 2 x single height GPUs including Nvidia GRID K2, up to AMD FirePro W9100, up to Nvidia Quadro K5200
» Compute card Intel Xeon Phi or Nvidia Tesla » Remote access card Celsius Remote Access (Dual and Quad Card) (Teradici PCoIP)
» Operating System Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Linux » Dimensions 431 (w) x 683 (d) x 44.45 (h) mm
» Weight starts at 17kg » Warranty three-year on-site » £TBC
If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to AEC Magazine for FREE