Forbidden Arm Server Banned In The United States

Web Forbidden Arm Server Cover

In one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by STH, we have the Huawei TaiShan server to show you. What makes this server more interesting than being banned in the US, is that the CPUs it uses are Huawei/HiSilicon Arm server CPUs. Specifically, this is the Huawei/HiSilicon Kunpeng 920 server which was one of the first Armv8 server CPUs with up to 64 cores and PCIe Gen4 support. In terms of project status, this server has been very challenging, something we have covered recently Solidigm D7-P5520 7.68TB PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD Review on x86 Arm and Power9 Piece. So instead of reviewing at this point, we’ll deal with this further to document just what we’ve found and discuss what makes this blocked server unique. As we went through the hardware configuration, it was clear that this server was very different, and there were a lot of things to cover just by looking at the hardware.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 Server Overview

We’ll split the hardware overview into two parts. We will have an external and internal overview. In the inside overview, we’ll delve into more images than usual on some of the interesting components other than the CPU. There will also be a second piece dedicated to the Kunpeng 920. If you prefer to listen and see more footage via video, we have a video for this:

As always, we suggest opening it in your browser, tab or app for the best viewing experience. There are a few angles in the video we don’t have pictures just because of the nature of the video.

Overview of the external server for Huawei TaiShan 200 2280

Starting at the front of the server, this is a 24″ 2.5″ slot design. This is a fairly standard configuration for 2U servers, at least until we reach the EDSFF era.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 Front
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 Front

In this server, eight slots are NVMe while the other slots are SATA/SAS.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 2.5in Drive Tray
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 2.5in Drive Tray

The thing that was surprising was that the drive trays weren’t devoid of tools. They still need screws. Huawei also uses drive blanks like Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo instead of just providing drive trays like Supermicro, Inspur, QCT, and others.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 2.5in Empty Case
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 2.5in Empty Case

While this is a TaiShan 200 2280, this is the decal for the part with the K22R-02.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 Model Info Including FCC
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 Model Info Including FCC

On the left side, we get the Huawei logo, the power, and the status of the LED / LCD.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 front left
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 front left

On the right side, we get a VGA port and two USB 3.0 ports. Most of the servers we review have at most one front USB port, and this varies slightly.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 Front Right
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 Front Right

Moving on to the back, things start to get a little more exciting. One can see that there are eight full-height PCIe slots, but only one can be used for the card.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 wallpaper 2
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 wallpaper 2

Core networking is provided via two OCP NIC 3.0 slots. We’ll delve into this 4-port 1GbE solution, but let’s just say it’s one of the most interesting.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 Rear 4x 1GbE Realtek OCP
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 Rear 4x 1GbE Realtek OCP

The main I/O block contains the management, a serial RJ45 port, a VGA, and two USB ports. This is a standard stack except that we rarely see RJ45 serial ports in servers. These are more common in switches and firewalls. This section is connected to the PCB with a chip that we can’t find information on via Google, and we’ll get into that in our deep internal research.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 IO
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 IO

The other OCP NIC 3.0 slot is located to the right of the I/O assembly.

In slot 8 we get a four-port HNS card with a capacity of 25 Gb.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 HNS 4x 25GbE NIC Backlit
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 HNS 4x 25GbE NIC Backlit

One of the power supplies was damaged during charging. This one has many reviews and testimonials, including the 80Plus Platinum certified. It’s also a 200V+ power supply, so it’s not intended for 110-120V North American low-power racks.

Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 2kW PSU
Huawei TaiShan 200 2280 2kW PSU

As exciting as it is, the most exciting aspect is really what we see inside the server. From the outside, this is fairly standard. Once we get in, things get interesting. Let’s move on to that.