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6/9/2010
03:28 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Dell Dives Deeper Into Data Center

A day after I posted "Oracle Seen Axing Opteron On Sun Servers," we have fresh evidence that the processor wars between Intel and AMD are far from over. The news comes in the form of a slew of announcements from Dell, which include servers variously featuring Intel's Westmere Xeon orl AMD's enhanced Magny-Cours Opteron.

A day after I posted "Oracle Seen Axing Opteron On Sun Servers," we have fresh evidence that the processor wars between Intel and AMD are far from over. The news comes in the form of a slew of announcements from Dell, which include servers variously featuring Intel's Westmere Xeon orl AMD's enhanced Magny-Cours Opteron.According to the Dell press release: "The PowerEdge R715 is an AMD-based 2U rack server that balances 24 processing cores with a large memory footprint to achieve a good ratio of price/performance. This rack server is ideal for virtualization, workload consolidation and small scale database and network infrastructure deployments."

This is a 2P system but it's got 24 physical cores. That's because its Magny-Cours, aka Opteron 6100, processor is a 12-core device, which is currently the king of the multicore count hill.

On the Xeon front, there are the PowerEdge M710HD and PowerEdge M610x blades. According to the squib, the M710HD "is designed and optimized for virtual workloads. . .It is one of the only high density, memory optimized blade servers in the industry that supports failsafe redundant embedded hypervisors and hot-swappable SAS or SSD drive options to help ensure customers' consolidated workloads stay up and running. "

The M610x positioned as a database acceleration box. Unusually, it also has enhanced graphics via NVIDIA's new Tesla Fermi class of GPU.

I don't want to get into a laundry list of spec, and I should add that there are other significant announcements here, most notably storage options via Dell's PowerVault or EquaLogic arrays. (Dell acquired EqualLogic in 2008.) Our own Charles Babcock will have news story on all this stuff late Wednesday.

I refer you to Charlie's piece for details. For now, I want to leave you with the "big think" concept,keying off of the fact that Dell and its server competitors (HP, IBM, Oracle/Sun, and newcomer Cisco) are all working furiously to support the huge (and rapid) ramp in virtualization.

The Dell announcements are also positioned as ideal for private clouds, which is essentially another way of saying they're aimed at the data center. The morphing of standalone server technology into consolidated, data-center bundles is another active meme in the server marketplace.

On Saturday morning, you will be able to read more about this by downloading my InformationWeek Analytics State of Server Technology 2010 research report.

For now, here's a short excerpt from my February interview with Paul Prince, chief technology officer of Dell's Enterprise Product Group.

InformationWeek: What's Dell's enterprise strategy?

Paul Prince: We're operating under the umbrella theme of the efficient enterprise, which is about helping our customers run their businesses so they can free up some of the money they've historically had to spend on maintaining the IT infrastructure. It includes servers, but also storage and, to a greater degree over time, networking equipment as well. There's also the management infrastructure to pull all the pieces together.

InformationWeek: Does all this speak to the trend of supporting the next-gen data center, where it's not just about a box, but a whole solution?

Prince: Yeah, that's absolutely right. From the customers' point of view, there's a need to get more efficient and more automated. You want not just silos of servers, storage and networking, but to treat it as a holistic concept in the data center.

You can see more of my Server Den columns here.

Leave a comment below or e-mail me directly at alex@alexwolfe.net.

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Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.

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