Inspur starts selling Chinese web giant's in-house servers

JD.com's own servers, sold by the rackful, using cold plate cooling tech to tease possible 1.1 PUE


Chinese kit-maker to the stars, Inspur Technologies, and local e-commerce titan JD.com have started jointly offering servers – the very kit the web bazaar uses in production.

The new "liquid-cooled rack server ORS3000S" uses liquid cooling plate technology that Inspur has previously deployed in other products. As the name implies, the tech involves piping cold water into plates that reside inside servers. Heat produced by the servers warms that water as it circulates, so that servers can keep their cool as the warmer water exits and takes heat with it on the way out. Inspur uses drip detectors to make sure leaks or condensation don't wash away the benefits this form of liquid cooling confers.

Curiously, Inpsur and JD.com haven't revealed the specs of the product, but other Inspur products with similar names and form factors – the new offering is sold as a rackful of servers – offer compute nodes that pack a pair of Intel's Ice Lake Scalable Xeon processors, plus 32 DDR4 memory slots, another 16 dedicated to Intel Optane, plus eight 2.5-inch NVMe SSDs, and a pair of SATA SSDs. Inspur has stayed off the USA's naughty lists of companies thought to be in the palm of China's government and/or military, so has retained access to US tech (last week it launched "A6" servers that can handle AMD's third-gen EPYC Milan-X 7003 series processors).

Whatever JD.com and Inspur have packed inside the ORS3000S, they're promising it's possible to install the product in between five and seven days of work and could produce a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) score of 1.1 – meaning the kit uses just .1W to keep itself cool for every 1W it needs to function.

Datacenters that achieve a PUE of 1.2 generally use that achievement as a selling point.

The servers are based on designs JD.com uses in its own datacenters. The two companies claim they coped with bursts of work during China's massive online sales seasons – delivering performance increase of 34 to 56 per cent at impressive PUE.

The product was first announced at Inspur's partner conference in China – a venue suggesting that Inspur and JD are keen to start shifting units. The product's existence was revealed to the rest of the world this week.

Inspur has a strong reputation as a server-maker for big brand vendors, hyperscalers, customers for whom it happily creates and manufacturers custom kit. The company also builds to the Open Compute Project's specs and offers hyperconverged kit ready to run stacks from VMware, Nutanix, or Microsoft.

Working with JD.com is not new to Inspur. Earlier this month the two struck a deal to advance China's digitization and smart cities plan. But it is unusual for Inspur to take a custom product to market. ®

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