Main image of article Eurocom's Panther 5.0: Laptop as Backup Server
It may not power your data center, but it could provide computing power in a pinch: meet the Eurocom Panther 5.0 Server Edition, which packs an eight-core Xeon into a laptop form factor. Eurocom, which has built its business on mobile workstations and other high-performance hardware, has offered a mobile server before: the D900F Panther, which debuted in 2009. But the Panther 5SE represents the company's first attempt at a true mobile server in some time. For most IT administrators and other pros, the Panther 5SE may represent more of a curiosity than a real tool; rarely does a laptop—even one powered by a Xeon—stand in for backend infrastructure in a pinch. But Eurocom argues that the Panther 5.0SE offers the ability to deploy quickly in field work—assuming that the available power supply can deliver up to 660 watts. The "laptop," complete with 17-inch screen, weighs in at a somewhat svelte 12 pounds; a truckload compared to a traditional notebook, but light as a feather for older IT folk who grew up on the 30-odd-pound Compaq "luggables" from several years ago. "We also have customers who use our mobile servers as backup in case their production server goes down; they can load the virtual machine on to the mobile server for production purposes while the main production server is down,” Mark Bialic, Eurocom's president, wrote in a statement. From a hardware standpoint, the 5SE doesn't differ that much from the Panther 5D, which Eurocom began shipping last December as a portable CAD machine. The 5SE cuts back on the highest-performance graphics options, shaving price; the 5D also doesn't allow users to select a server OS, such as the suggested Windows Server configuration. The Panther 5SE supports a range of LGA2011 Xeon processors, ranging from the Xeon E5-2690 (8 cores/16 threads/20 MB L3/2.90-3.80 GHz) down to the Intel Xeon E5-2630, (6 cores/12 threads/15 MB L3/2.30-2.80 GHz). As memory is often the key in server environments, the Panther 5.0 SE can currently support up to 32GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM via four 8GB SODIMM 204 pin modules; however, the system can expand up to 64GB as soon as memory-module makers release their 16 GB single-module design. Up to 4 1-Tbyte drives are supported, with RAID 0,1,5, and 10 support built in. Additional expansion options come courtesy of eSATA and ExpressCard. Although Eurocom pledges that the Panther 5SE supports various server OSes (including Windows Server 2008R2, Windows Server 2012, Ubuntu, Red Hat, VMware Workstation, and VMware ESXi with a Magma ExpressBox), only Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 are currently supported; the Panther 5SE can be purchased in a bare-bones configuration, but it will be up to the customer to buy another operating system (and support) from another vendor. While the Panther 5SE may end up being more a luxury than a necessity in a modern data center, it could offer an interesting option for IT pros in need.   Image: Eurocom