Dell Pushes Four-Way Servers For Data Centers - InformationWeek

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3/23/2005
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Dell Pushes Four-Way Servers For Data Centers

The company says its new four-way PowerEdge servers offer a performance increase of nearly a third without an increase in cost.

Dell, whose two-processor servers power many business-computing environments, is raising its high end. The vendor Wednesday introduced two four-way computers as part of an initiative to push its database servers further into the enterprise. It also said four-way computing is ready for the mass market.

As part of its Scalable Enterprise effort, Dell unveiled two four-way PowerEdge servers that the company says will provide a performance increase of nearly a third over its previous generation of four-way servers, without an increase in cost.

"The end result are PowerEdge servers that offer both the highest levels of performance and a lower cost of acquisition," says Jeff Clarke, senior VP of Dell's product group.

Bruce Kornfeld, director of worldwide enterprise marketing for Dell, says the servers demonstrate how Dell customers can now "deploy mission-critical applications on a scalable enterprise that encompasses not just two-ways, but new four-way technology for higher-end database applications."

While market research has shown that unit sales of four-way server systems have been stagnant for the past few years, Kornfeld says that has been caused by the "significant premium" customers have had to pay for four-way systems versus two-way systems.

"We are making four-ways available to the masses," he says. "We hope to see customer deployments in the data center and in places that in the past customers have had to look to RISC and proprietary systems."

The four-way PowerEdge 6800 tower system and 6850 rack-mounted system will be available over the next few weeks and are priced beginning at $3,999 and $4,899, respectively.

Both the 6800 and 6850 will be offered with two processor configuration choices based on the 64-bit Xeon processor from Intel. A version with 8 Mbytes of on-chip Level 3 cache will be available for high-performance requirements in database configurations, and a version with less on-chip memory but higher clock speeds will be available for use for server consolidation and other application environments, Clarke says.

Dell declined to provide specifics of the processor configurations Wednesday but did note that testing has shown a 32% performance boost for the PowerEdge 6800/6850 with four 3.3-GHz Xeons with 8 Mbytes of cache, compared with an existing PowerEdge 6600/6650 with four 3-GHz Xeons with 4 Mbytes of cache.

For customers deploying the new servers in database environments, the systems can be configured with the larger cache processors to more efficiently handle larger data packets associated with that environment, while applications in server-consolidation situations that would benefit from raw performance can use the devices with smaller cache and higher clock speed, Clarke says.

Dell also said it has expanded the systems-management features for the PowerEdge platform with the release of OpenManage 4.3. The software has new features that include automated change management capability.

The company also revealed the creation of an Oracle Competency Center, where customers can test and validate Dell servers for use with Oracle database 10g, and a Data Center Environmental Assessment service to assist customers by evaluating thermal and power requirements.

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