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Build Day Live with SuperMicro

First off, let me give you a quick rundown of what Build Day Live is. The vBrownBag crew takes a product or piece of equipment, and does a real-life day-1 build. It doesn’t always go right, there’s usually troubleshooting involved, and it’s a look at what an implementation engineer runs into.

vBrownBag at Supermicro

I will admit, before watching this Build Day Live, I was not terribly familiar with Supermicro’s offerings. I do know there are quite a number of manufacturers that use Supermicro under the hood, but I never took the time to look deeper at their servers. When I’m doing consulting by day, they’re not a vendor I normally work with.

Two things really caught my eye:  The modular design of the enterprise-ready Ultra series, and networking. Yes, I found out Supermicro does networking.

Ultra Modular

Jerry Dien talked about the modular design of their enterprise-class Ultra series: the single motherboard across the series, with different configurations of backplanes, risers, and form-factor of 1U or 2U to make completely different servers.

Depending on configuration, you can build 10 (1U) or 24 (2U) drive configurations, with SAS/SATA backplane, or NVMe (also called direct-attached).

It can be really nice to have that familiar server and management, with different configurations depending on your needs; consider: Datacenter or general compute clusters, versus application and desktop delivery (Horizon, Citrix), with similar management.


The other thing that I was completely blindsided by was their networking solutions, from 1GB to 100GB switches. It turns out they have some L2 and L3 switches, 10gig, 25gig, aggregation, and bare-metal switches that will ship without an OS.

Switches have both a web UI for the interface people, and CLI for those who prefer command-line. I haven’t seen what the web management interface looks like, but Alastair said he was able to figure out what he’s doing without much trouble.

With a quick search, I found their CLI guide which has syntax that looks pretty familiar to me.

There isn’t any centralized/unified management (yet), but they’re integrating it with their blade networking management systems, slated for later this year.

There was a lot covered in the Build Day Live, including their GPU enabled servers, their management software, and blades. Check it out, maybe you’ll pick something up too.

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