Supermicro SuperServer 2029TP-HTR ReviewFebruary 3, 2020
We recently reviewed a TwinPro server, the 24-bay Supermicro SuperServer 2029TP-HTR (SHOP HERE). This system is part of Supermicro’s Twin server solutions, which offer multi-node architecture.
Clearly, the Supermicro SuperServer 2029TP-HTR has 4x compute nodes, each capable of supporting two of Intel’s newest 2nd generation Xeon Scalable processors plus up to 4TB of memory in each node, all in a 2U enclosure.
Aside from the names, which are both confusing and amusing, Supermicro makes some very impressive platforms. There are 4 product lines in the Twin Family starting with the BigTwin, which is the highest performing 2U system supporting two or four nodes. Next, the 4U Fat Twin, features Advanced Twin architecture with 4 to 8 compute nodes. The TwinPro, like our SuperServer 2029TP-HTR, offers 1U and 2U Twin architecture systems also featuring 2 to 4 nodes. And lastly, the Twin also at 1U and 2U, sports either two or four nodes, but has less memory. So, what’s the TwinPro 2029TP-HTR good for? Compute-intensive applications, High Performance Computing, mission-critical applications, financial analysis, and a host of other uses either in the cloud, a data center, or your very own network!
Furthermore, the front of the chassis has 24x 2.5-inch hot-swap storage bays supporting SATA III storage devices. There are 3 other versions of this system, which are differentiated from each other by the node backplane, and by the type of drives supported. The other chassis in this family are SAS-compatible, with a discrete Broadcom controller. Apart from this, the four nodes on this chassis support the compute, memory, and PCIe connections. The chassis delivers power, cooling, and allocates storage to the installed compute modules, with each getting 6x of the 24x front-mounted drives.
TwinPro systems have 16x DIMM slots per node, which is the same as for the 4U FatTwin. The BigTwin on the other hand, is the highest performing 2U Twin platform and supports 12x memory module slots per processor for 24x memory module slots total, with both processors installed. The Twin supports only 8x memory module slots per node.
There are 2 separate control panels in each of the server ears to either side of the chassis—one for each server node. The panel includes a Power ON button, NIC status LED, an Information LED for health, plus an UID LED to help identify the server from the back. Six drives are automatically allocated to each compute node and cannot be redistributed.
An intelligent Platform Management Interface port (IPMI) provides access to the ASPEED controller module in each compute node for at chassis and remote monitoring of the system. Furthermore, Supermicro’s SuperDoctor 5.0 provides more granular information on the server status with a browser-based, graphics-heavy interface suitable for both Windows and Linux operating systems. SuperDoctor 5 Management Server allows you to remotely power on/off, monitor and reset multiple systems.
In addition, on the back of the chassis you’ll see the PSUs stacked in the center, which in this case are 2200W Titanium PSUs. To either side are the hot-swappable compute nodes, each with 2x PCIe slots available for support of one or two expansion cards.
You also get a choice of Supermicro I/O Modules (SIOM modules) for network communications. The SIOM module installs on the far left and is comparable to Dell’s Network Daughter Card. It offers a simple and flexible way to connect to a network without using your limited PCIe slots. At the top of the list is a Mellanox ConnectX-3 Pro Infiniband FDR controller offering 56Gb Ethernet. If you are ordering either a barebones configuration or the complete system, it comes with an SIOM module in each node. On the far right opposite the SIOM module is the dedicated IPMI LAN port. Beside that is a VGA port and two USB 3.0 ports.
When we pull out one of the server nodes, you’ll see the two sockets for processors, each with 4x memory module slots to either side, for 8x per socket and 16x memory module slots total. Memory supported on this system includes Registered, Load-Reduced, and Optane memory modules, but only when paired with 2nd generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors. With all memory module slots loaded with 256GB memory modules, the Supermicro SuperServer 2029TP-HTR will support up to 4TB of Optane memory.
However, keep in mind the Supermicro SuperServer 2029TP-HTR can be outfitted with the previous generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, which will only support a top capacity of 3TB with “M” suffix processors or 1.5TB using standard Scalable processors. The 3DS LRDIMM Memory speed will also top out at 2666MT/s using 1st generation processors. So, if you want the full 4TB and a top memory speed of 2933MT/s, or if you want to use those Intel Optane Data centric Persistent Memory Modules (which can provide lower latencies and hyper-speed storage capabilities) then go with the 2nd generation processors. As there are no fans inside the server sleds, the air shrouds around the memory modules are very important for keeping the system cool.
A PCIe slot adjacent to the memory module slots is where you can add a Stacked Carrier Card to support your OS. A stacked carrier card is a dual slot M.2 storage card, which can support either two SATA M.2 or 1x NVMe plus 1x SATA drive.
Unquestionably, part of what we are also learning today is Supermicro’s SuperLingo. You can install one or two Super DOMs, AKA a Disk on Module offering the same benefits of SSD storage in a different form factor. Although, you should be warned that it’s either M.2 or DOM, not both. Of course, with only one processor installed you can’t have either. If you want to install SAS drives, order one of the other systems in this family as this one only supports SATA drives natively. With both processors installed, you can install one or two PCIe Add-on Cards supporting faster network connection speeds.
All in all, if you need high-performance compute, memory, and storage, the Supermicro SuperServer 2029TP-HTR definitely provides the goods. Although, it is important to remember how Supermicro has organized their offerings with families of servers that feature slight changes to storage and networking. Other manufacturer’s offer the same options, but they are just options not separate SKUs.