Dell Inc. is rolling out new hardware, software and services designed to push forward its vision of enterprise data centers populated with smaller systems linked together to create highly scalable and robust computing environments.
At a press conference Wednesday, Jeff Clark, senior vice president of Dells Enterprise Product Group, unveiled the four-way PowerEdge 6800 and 6850 servers, which will be powered by Intel Corp.s upcoming 64-bit enabled Xeon MP processors, which are expected to be officially launched next week.
Clark also announced new capabilities in the Round Rock, Texas, companys OpenManage server management software; a new service designed to help enterprises plan for future growth in their data centers; and an Oracle Competency Center, where customers can evaluate Oracle software on Dell systems.
"We view the scalable enterprise as the next [step] of where data centers will evolve to over the next few years," said Clark, who was joined at the press conference by Abhi Talwalkar, vice president and general manager of Intels Digital Enterprise Group, and Charles Rozwat, executive vice president of development, server technologies, at Oracle Corp.
Dell and Oracle first talked about the vision at an event in 2003, saying that enterprises will continue to move away from larger SMP servers to smaller systems—typically two- and four-way servers—that are based on industry-standard technology and tightly linked together. Such environments offer greater flexibility and scalability for less cost, officials from both companies have said.
Clark said that Dell currently has 65,000 installations of Oracle Database running on Dell systems, which represents 300 percent growth over the past three years. Of those new customers, about a third have migrated from RISC-based environments, he said.
The new PowerEdge systems round out the eighth generation of the server family, Clark said. Both are designed with database workloads in mind. In addition to the 64-bit capabilities through Intels EM64T technology, the systems also will offer such features as faster DDR-2 memory, PCI Express I/O technology, hot-plug hard drives and mirroring.
The systems—which Clark said are a third faster and cheaper than their predecessors—can come in two configurations, one of which offers up to 8MB of Level 3 cache, which is suited for database applications, Clark said. The other has a smaller cache but faster frequency for other applications.
"This enables our customers to choose depending on their database applications," Clark said.
Both servers have been validated for 32-bit configurations of Oracle Database 10g and 9i RAC (Real Application Clusters), and Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server. Validation for 64-bit configurations of Oracle Database 10g and 10g RAC and SQL Server 2005 using the 64-bit version of Microsofts Windows Server 2003, or Red Hat Inc.s Linux operating system will come over the next few months, Clark said.
Dells new release of OpenManage, version 4.3, includes new automated change management capabilities, Clark said. Server Update Utility is a set of tools for server updates and IT Assistant 7.0 allows for greater centralized monitoring. Dell customers also can patch hardware, operating systems and applications with a single tool.
In December, Dell, Oracle and Intel announced the MegaGrid project, designed as a "proof of concept" to show enterprises that they can build flexible grid environments using standard x86 technology. The work on the project has given Dell greater expertise in Oracle database technology, which led the company to open an Oracle Competency Center in Austin, Texas, to enable customers to test Oracle applications on Dell computers.
In addition, Dells new Data Center Environmental Assessment service is designed to help businesses evaluate their data centers in such areas as power requirements, thermal issues, air flow design and future planning.
The service, which is similar to ones offered by such OEMs as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc., is aimed at businesses with data centers from 200 square feet to 10,000 square feet and more, starting at $5,000. Available now in the United States, Dell will expand it to other Western Hemisphere countries and Europe later this year.