Today, Dell is announcing the thirteenth generation of its PowerEdge servers. In addition to the efficiencies from the new Intel chips, also being announced today, Dell has also added several major design and software enhancements to boost performance by moving storage closer to compute, enabling software defined storage, and simplifying and streamlining lifecycle management processes.
Five new servers were announced, all of which are upgrades on existing designs, and all of which are built with the latest Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 product family.
The R730xd is a mainstream 2S/2U rack server, designed for the scale out storage efficiency demanded by today’s XaaS providers, Hadoop/Big Data users and co-location hosting. It optionally offers in-box storage tiering.
The R730 is a mainstream 2S/2U rack server. It performs well in demanding environments, including cloud, virtualization, Web tech and high performance computing, so Dell is selling it as a highly flexible data centre product. The 2 GPU option also enables medical imaging.
The R630 is a mainstream 2S/1U rack server with high computing resource density for a 1U offering. It provides highly flexible datacentre scaling for database, and virtualization environments, Web tech and HPC.
The T630 is a 2S/5U rack-mount tower server, with versatile configuration options for appropriate performance and scalability for mid-size offices, ROBOs and data centres. Extensive internal storage and 4 GPUs enable like large database, CRM, desktop virtualization and medical imaging.
The M630 is a 2S blade server used with the 10U M1000e & VRTX shared infrastructure chassis. Dell says it is best suited for large data centers, hosting virtualization, or running business intelligence applications and large databases. It’s also an ideal building block for private clouds.
“One of the things that really stuck out in conversations with customers is that all of them say optimizing applications is critically important to give the best bang for the buck,” said Ravi Pendekanti, VP of PowerEdge product marketing and management at Dell. Indeed, in a survey of 800 executives Dell commissioned which was done a month ago, every exec surveyed said optimizing applications was critically important. 70% said they have been negatively impacted by performance issues when running applications requiring fast access to data.
“Boosting application performance and enabling software-defined storage are major pillars of this release,” Pendekanti said.
One major advance here is the optimization of data placement through tiering.
“It’s a new implementation of tiering in a 2U server design, supported on the R730XD platform, which lets you support tiering on a single server,” said Brian Payne, Executive Director/Server Platform at Dell. In this GlacierFire Data Storage, colder data is moved to the Glacier Tier while the Fire Tier is used for faster storage. Dell’s testing found 3.5X more transactions and an 11X faster response time for online transaction processing with Microsoft SQL DB running the R730xd GlacierFire Data Storage.
These servers also support Express Flash hot plug SSDs and a cost-effective 1.8” SATA flash.
“We have designed the support for the 1.8 SATA SSDs by working with SSD suppliers to hit capacity points so these become a capable alternative to 2.5 inch drives,” Payne said. This means more performance because you can get up to 24 of these 1.8 SATAs in an R630 platform. This will be an excellent choice for running a single database doing local storage, in a 1 U form factor.” Dell says the 1.8 drives allow for up to 2.4 times the IOPS per second in the same amount of space as 2.5-inch SSDs.
Application performance has been boosted on the collaboration side as well.
“Much of the market uses Exchange and the size of mailbox has been a pain point with larger files,” Payne said. “The 13G R730XD has a configuration choice that has 100 TB of storage in a 2U server, which means 50% larger mailboxes than the prior generation.” Dell also says that SQL online transaction processing has increased 10.5x with 13G. Fluid Cache for SAN on 13G and Oracle 12c also translates into 3.6X faster order processing.
Dell is also stressing the 13G servers’ reduction of TCO with streamlined lifecycle management processes.
“We have reduced TCO in our scaled-out infrastructure by enhancing a lot of the embedded management capabilities we had already built in, and back-enabling the millions of servers already out there for this,” said Kevin Noreen, Director of Server Solutions at Dell.
“Zero Touch” automatic configuration is a key here, producing a 99% reduction in configuration time by using easy-to-edit XML configuration profiles to automate the process, which scales to 1,000s of servers.
“Zero Touch makes systems simple enough to ‘Rack, Stack and Relax,’ Noreen said. “It will immediately start configuring itself to run its workload manually. One customer took 60 hours to configure 12 servers before, and with this it took 30 minutes for them to configure the next 30 servers.”
Server updates and technical support are also automated with this release.
Management costs have also been reduced through simplification. iDRAC QuickSync revolutionizes physical server inventorying and setup.
“It allows for simple management at the box, since 60% of customers manage from there,” Noreen said. “It lets them use OpenManage Mobile on their tablet or smartphone, and reduces by 84% the amount of info they have to put in. This will change and revolutionize the way they do physical inventory of things they set up.”
In addition, with iDRAC Direct, USB port configuration capabilities reduce server configuration setup time by 95 per cent.
“IDRAC Direct uses USB configuration to reconfigure itself, although it has to be re-enabled for security reasons,” Noreen said. “We have made these servers simpler to provision and reprovision and simpler to do lifecycle management.”
Dell also announced new direct-attached storage offerings specifically developed for the new PowerEdge servers. The new Dell Storage MD1400 and MD1420 offer affordable storage expansion, double the bandwidth and improved performance compared to the previous generation, data security with self-encrypting-drives, and seamless data management between the server and storage enclosure.
Pricing on the new servers is still TBD at this time. They are all shipping today however.