Three Xeon E5 Server Systems From Intel, Tyan, And Supermicro

Tyan GN70-K7053: Management Features And Serviceability

Like Supermicro, Tyan utilizes AMI's MegaRAC management processor to provide IPMI 2.0 and KVM-over-IP functionality. Tyan uses a less customized version of the MegaRAC than Intel and Supermicro, so you clearly see the MegaRAC branding. Nevertheless, much of this is going to look a lot like what we already saw from Supermicro's MegaRAC implementation (along with Intel's, as we'll soon see).

Here, Tyan provides standard remote mounting features. The company unfortunately does not offer the ability to mount a remote network share.

Tyan also exposes the standard power controls found in the MegaRAC management solution. Like Supermicro, Tyan provides a lot of settings related to user authentication and e-mail alert notifications. These settings get used to a varying degree, depending on the environment.

Another key piece of the solution is monitoring server health, including voltages, fan speeds, system events, and alerts.

Using the KVM-over-IP features, you can do a few things that SSH, VNC, and RDC cannot do, such as remote troubleshooting from POST. An administrator can use the Java-based application to see exactly what is being shown on the VGA port, and then use his keyboard and mouse as if it were plugged into the server's own USB ports (with a few exceptions). For commands like Ctrl-Alt-Del that normally trigger a local system event, MegaRAC uses macros to get those commands out remotely

Tyan offers similar BIOS ECC memory mode settings as Supermicro and Intel. The options are certainly more advanced than what you'd find on a Xeon E3-series board, since you can use registered DIMMs on the E5-based platform.

Tyan does not use the more expensive C606 chipset implementation with eight ports of SAS connectivity, which is understandable since the S7503 includes an LSI SAS controller.

Power management features are enabled though Tyan's BIOS, a fairly standard practice on server motherboards.

Before we move on to Intel's submission, we see that Tyan offers BIOS-based fan control. Server boards tend to use four-pin PWM-controlled fans, which are able to ramp fan speed up and down to maintain cooling without wasting power.

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  • Dr_M0rph3us
    An impressively well-written article, top to bottom, included all the information a barebones server review should have. I'm looking forward for more similar enterprise-oriented articles. Congrats!