back to article Oxide reimagines private cloud as... a 2,500-pound blade server?

Over the past few years we've seen a number of OEMs, including Dell, HPE, and others trying to make on-prem datacenters look and feel more like the public cloud. However, at the end of the day, the actual hardware behind these offerings is usually just a bunch of regular servers and switches sold on a consumption-based model, …

  1. Tom Chiverton 1
    FAIL

    "non-standard form factors"

    Vendor lock in achieved !

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Windows

      +1, but they are offering a total solution in one box. Choose your poison?

    2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Betting Factors

      If you buy this, you're betting that the company will: (a) prosper and continue as a business entity, and (b) not discontinue support of these systems any time "soon". Beyond that,

      + Custom, larger-than-usual PCB sizes means they can make it for less cost. Data General did this with their Nova and Eclipse lines (but they also made them fit into standard 19" rack-mount cabinets).

      - Custom power supplies and power connectors mean most-likely no replacements of failing/failed units with third-party (less-expensive-to-you) hardware.

      - All that custom HW and SW means many not-very-extensively (vs industry-standard HW/SW) tested interfaces. Interfaces are where bugs tend to lurk.

      - That pic showed non-locking swivel casters holding up that box. The last thing one needs while swapping out a unit with a server-jack is for the rack you're working on to start squirreling around. Yes, you can-and-should chock the casters before working on such a machine, but the lack of locking casters shows a lack of thoughtfulness in the design team.

      - "0xide", with the the letter "oh" replaced by a zero?! Have these leetspeak-spouting "haxorz 4nd w423z d00dz" from the 1980s not matured?

      1. OffTropics

        Re: Betting Factors

        Wasn't 0xide a Manga character?

      2. haymore

        Re: Betting Factors

        We certainly hope we're successful. So far the folks that have deployed the platform have been thrilled with the experience and the system as a whole.

        The rack fits inside the standard 24" (600mm) floor tile common for most enterprise class data centers and colos. We're not trying to squeeze this in a telco CO or something.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/19-inch_rack

        The power shelf and rectifiers are common off the shelf parts from Murata used by hyperscalers and the public cloud providers. We'll replace them if you have a support contract, or folks can go source their own.

        https://www.murata.com/-/media/webrenewal/products/power/datasheet/mwoces-191-m-b.ashx?la=en-us&cvid=20221122043000000000

        https://www.murata.com/-/media/webrenewal/products/power/datasheet/mwocp68-3600-d-rm.ashx?la=en&cvid=20220525020000000000

        The coolest connectors in the product are coming from Samtec, we did a whole podcast on it. Really interesting stuff:

        https://oxide.computer/podcasts/oxide-and-friends/1342756

        The casters are just to roll it into place, I can roll a fully populated rack by myself but we use 2 people for safety. Once in place on the floor tile you drop the feet for stability. If people are bumping into stuff that much maybe install the seismic kit too?

        The zero used in the name is more about hexadecimal: 0x1de like 0x denotes hex, so more like mid 1800's.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexadecimal

        Fun side note, our PCI ID is 01de

        https://github.com/pciutils/pciids

    3. Mayday
      Alert

      Single throat to choke

      Probably marketed as such. This can be (depending on your interpretation) better than the blamestorming which happens when you've got (say) Cisco switches, Netapp storage, some hypervisor and whatever else you have in your stack, all pointing the fingers at the vendor which isn't them when it stops working.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Nine foot high? I've seen computer rooms where there isn't that much height between raised floor and dropped ceiling.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Angel

      Raised floor supporting 3000lbs in a small foot print? Must be sold by Oxide flooring?!

      1. mevets

        3000 lbs...

        My 2U supermicro with 32 cores weighs 40 lbs. About 5/4 lb per core.

        So 2560 lb per 2048 cores.

        Almost exactly what the 0x1de one weighs; but doesn't include the cross connect, etc.

        Not sure where the author got 3000lb.... oxide's spec sheet says different.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 3000 lbs...

          Do Oxide also deliver racks in Kg and cm for the rest of the world outside the USA?

      2. abend0c4 Silver badge

        3000lbs

        And I was thinking £3000 seemed remarkably cheap.

        1. xyz Silver badge

          Re: 3000lbs

          Note to editors... There are 350 million Americans who know what a pound is and umpteen billion non Americans who don't. Same goes for things like 3/8 of a bushels quart or whatever. I mean, you lot even have gallons that aren't gallons. Stop it please. Metric is not a commie pinko plot to turn American yoof into raging transvestites.

          1. Dimmer Bronze badge
            Devil

            Re: 3000lbs

            xyz

            I think you overestimate the number that knows what is a pound.

            Example, new dryer. Max 15lbs. After putting 40lbs of wet clothes in it, the wife complains it is a piece of junk after burning up the belt.

            Same concept with watts. Bathroom plug. Hair dryer, 1500w, space heater 1500w, straightening iron 800w. All on at the same time. Why would the breaker trip? I still have holes to plug in stuff.

            1. Anonymous Crowbar

              Re: 3000lbs

              This side of the pond we don't have plugs in the bathroom anyway [other than a shaving adapter]

          2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: 3000lbs

            Metric is not a commie pinko plot to turn American yoof into raging transvestites.

            I think I saw that movie. It was hilariously-bad.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Sizes

      Hi -- FWIW I've added an editor's note on this point. Our vulture was told the 9 ft and 3000 lb figures in conversation with the Oxide team. It turns out those numbers were for the systems as shipped, not deployed.

      The article has been updated to include the measurements as deployed.

      C.

  3. HCV

    The most important question

    What happens if you shout at it?

    1. mevets

      Re: The most important question

      In my past, I have shouted at BMC. BMC not only shouts back louder, but does so at a words per minute rate that would make a Scottish Chieftan head (actually heed) for the hills (heels).

  4. Nate Amsden

    reminds me of SGI cloudrack

    15 years ago ...

    https://www.theregister.com/2009/03/18/rackable_cloudrack_two/

    Hardware wise anyway

    "This time around, the trays don't include the power supply, which has been shifted out into the rack enclosure itself and which provides direct conversion from three-phase AC power coming out of the data center walls to 12V power needed by the servers on the tray. So, the "server" doesn't have a cover, doesn't have any fans, and doesn't have a power supply."

    I was looking at using these at the time for my (then) org's first hadoop cluster. VP of group decided to go another direction cutting corners on quality and cost. I left shortly after. Was later told their new vendor had a 30% hardware failure rate and with quorum requirements it meant the first year of operation the cluster was at half capacity. I had a great laugh. Company is long dead now. I enjoyed the 2nd best commute though(short of working from home). The office was literally across the street from my apartment. I actually had co workers driving in parking further away to avoid paying parking fees.

  5. chuckufarley Silver badge
    Joke

    Will Oxide take...

    ...Monthly payments?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't private cloud more about the software?

    I think OpenStack is still a thing. Although the AWS API implementation Eucalyptus died for some reason I don't understand.

    The point of on-prem is to use whatever cheap hardware that you happen to have lying around...

  7. Roland6 Silver badge

    Liquid cooling?

    Given no mention is made of the cooling and looking at the pictures, I assume this is fully air cooled.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Liquid cooling?

      Our next generation C0x2de uses our proven aqueous-CO2 cooling solution. This coolant has been widely proven to combat overheating in the most demanding climates. A standard installation includes 4 kegs of spare coolant in the chiller system, and a coolant diagnostic port in the lab.

      1. Dimmer Bronze badge

        Re: Liquid cooling?

        And if someone breaks the coolant line, does it set off the FM200 system? In large quantities, Freon will.

        Thanks for answering questions about the product.

    2. haymore

      Re: Liquid cooling?

      The rack is fully air cooled.

      There is no liquid cooling in the product at this time and none planned at the moment.

      There is a trio of 80mm fans in each compute sled along with 4x80mm fans for each of the two network switches. There are fans in the rectifiers inside the Murata power shelf. Because we paid a great deal of attention to thermodynamics and leverage 80mm fans for the entire rack we're able to achieve far better compute density and lower power utilization than comparable configurations.

  8. Bitsminer Silver badge

    Shades of SUN

    In the early days, like the 1980s, Sun built servers that required 208VAC. Only the SF area supported that, the rest of the world was 220 or 240VAC. I think that's called parochial but correct me if I'm wrong.

    When $WORK finally realized that, and put in a step-up transformer, the loud fan noise and irregular reboots stopped happening.

    For Oxide to build a (customized) rack that is more than 2m high is....parochial. There are elevators that won't take such items even tilted and empty. The tallest Dell rack (48U) is 2273mm high. These guys have not done their homework. They haven't had to actually install such equipment in any variety of customer locations worldwide.

    2.74m is just....dumb.

    And putting just 15kW of CPU power into an oversized rack is....under whelming. There are higher power (and therefore faster) CPU and storage options that aren't physically unmanageable.

    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Re: Shades of SUN [208 VAC]

      https://www.thermalcorporation.com/208-volts-is-a-weird-voltage-where-did-it-come-from/

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Happy

        Yee haw Jimminy Crickets That's what we here call a Wild Leg!

        This website is best read aloud in a redneck cowboy accent

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Shades of SUN

      Unless it can be split in half (or even thirds) for transport. Which I realise is unlikely, but then why are the side panels split like that?

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Shades of SUN

      According the Oxide website spec’s the cabinet’s dimensions are: 2354mm (92.7") x 600mm (23.7”) x 1060mm (41.8"), effectively a 48U rack.

  9. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    Ooh, I'm the first to ask if it runs Crysis..

    Actually, I read the problem with Crysis is that while it's quite efficient on single core systems, there is a bug that causes it to perform badly on multi core systems. This is he original version. I believe the remake fixes that bug.

  10. Smirnov

    ...yet you cannot buy a DC bus-bar-based system from Dell, HP, or Supermicro

    ""It's just comical that everyone deploying at scale has a DC bus bar and yet you cannot buy a DC bus-bar-based system from Dell, HP, or Supermicro, because, quote unquote, no one wants it," Cantrill quipped."

    That's actually false. Both Dell and HP/HPE have DC power supplies as option for most of their regular servers, and have had them for a while. We use them for special purpose applications but they are meant for DC use.

    1. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: ...yet you cannot buy a DC bus-bar-based system from Dell, HP, or Supermicro

      Yep, I put in a CCTV system for a customer that could only give us DC power, Dell sent me everything I needed with DC power supplies.

      Oddly, the customer was a power station, generating lots of AC power, but the security lodge where our gear was going only had DC...

    2. haymore

      Re: ...yet you cannot buy a DC bus-bar-based system from Dell, HP, or Supermicro

      The DC bus-bar is not a DC power supply.

      The DC bus-bar is a large copper bar that runs the length of the back of the rack and distributes DC to all the compute sleds and switches in the rack.

      The rack is AC powered and utilizes a Murata power shelf with 6 rectifiers for AC to DC conversion.

  11. OffTropics

    Ouh là là... Bryan Cantrill (triple exclamation mark, and Karmeliet Tripel to toast)

  12. Scott Marshall
    Joke

    Yes, looks nice, but can it ...

    ... run DOOM? Quake? DOTA? Oooh - don't forget Minecraft.

    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Re: Yes, looks nice, but can it ...

      I don't think its bus structure allows for ISA, VESA Local Bus, PCI, or PCIe-interfaced video cards. However, I once saw Quake running in a mode which used coloured ASCII characters to display the scene. Perhaps you could modify Quake to output to the diagnostic serial port, if the 0xide has one. id Software has released the source code for the original Quake, so there's a coding challenge for you. :-)

  13. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Denver, Colorado, Sans 0xide

    From the 0xide website, I noticed this limitation: The elevation of the room where the rack is installed must be below 9,842 feet (3,000 meters). So you won't be siting (nor sighting) an 0xide system in Denver, Colorado, USA aka "The Mile-High City."

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