Plenty Happening on the Server Side

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-06-09 Print this article Print

In the server arena, Dell is looking to give customers greater choices as they look to transform their data centers, according to Brian Payne, director of server product management at Dell.
"We're looking at ... how we can help our customers make the leap into the virtualized world in a very efficient way," Payne said in an interview with eWEEK.
Blades will be a key to this transformation, he said. They help businesses reduce operation, capital, and power and cooling costs, and improve management and resource utilization capabilities.
Dell introduces two new PowerEdge blades, the PowerEdge M710HD for virtual workloads, and the M610x, which can support Nvidia's new Tesla "Fermi" GPUs (graphics processing units) and Fusion-IOs ioDrive Duo SSDs (solid-state drives). GPUs from Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices' ATI graphics business are gaining traction in some general-purpose computing environments, promising high computational power at a fraction of the cost of traditional CPUs.
The M710HD is designed for virtual workloads through its flexibility in I/O options, Intel processors, support for up to 18 memory DIMMs in a half-height form factor, hot-swappable SAS or SSD drive options and support for Fail Safe redundant embedded hypervisors. Payne said that traditionally, servers that offer large memory capacity tend to compromise on other aspects, such as reliability. This new Dell server doesn't, he said.
"We can't leave anything behind," Payne said.
In addition, Dell is offering a 2U (3.5-inch) rack server, the PowerEdge R715, powered by AMD's eight- to 12-core Opteron 6000 series "Magny-Cours" processors. The goal of the system is to balance 24 processing cores with a large memory footprint to offer high price/performance ratios. The system is aimed at such tasks as workload consolidation, virtualization and smaller database and network infrastructure deployments.
Dell also has improved the M1000e chassis with new power supplies, ultra-efficient fans, and bare-metal chassis management tools to improve the blade systems' energy efficiency and performance-per-watt capabilities.
Systems management software improvements include updates to Lifecycle Controller, Chassis Management Controller and Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller, with all upgrades designed to streamline ongoing maintenance issues. LifeCycle Controller now can automatically configure new parts with settings and firmware of prior components, while a new GUI for Chassis Management Controller includes a homepage that simplifies many administrative tasks.
"Everything we're doing related to the management of the infrastructure and blades ... is focused on saving time and ultimately manpower needed to manage the infrastructure," Payne said.

Networking products through Juniper Networks and Brocade

Dell rolled out the new PowerConnect-J series of gateway-type machines, the first through Dell's OEM agreement with Juniper. The PowerConnect J-Series [J is for Juniper] EX8200 product line provides a new scalable chassis for high-performance switching and routing in data center and cloud environments.

The J-Series EX4200 line of switches -- aimed at smaller data center and corporate branch offices -- uses Virtual Chassis software to stack and manage up to 10 of these switches as a single virtual device, if needed.

The PowerConnect J-Series SRX family of Service Gateway products target a range of security needs, including content security, access control and state-of-the-art firewall and virtual private network (VPN) technology, Dell said.

Dell's OEM partnership with Brocade has spawned the PowerConnect B-Series [B is for Brocade] RX-16, which  extends the current line of PowerConnect B-RX chassis switches with a 16-slot, modular chassis for networks with 10GbE requirements.

Finally, Dell's new PowerConnect 8024 Ethernet switch features 24 ports of 10GBASE-T and includes Layer 3 routing for data center, aggregation and unified fabric deployments, Dell said.

The PowerVault arrays will become available later this month. All the rest of the new products become available either in July or August.

eWEEK Senior Editor Jeff Burt contributed to this story.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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