Dell plugs enterprise tools into entry-level PowerEdges

The nine new PowerEdge 12G servers come with high-end iDRAC7 remote management software, giving small businesses a taste of products usually available mainly to large enterprises

Dell has brought its management and automation software to nine new PowerEdge 12G servers, so that small businesses can access high-end technologies usually reserved for large enterprises.

PowerEdge R820

Dell has announced details of nine new PowerEdge 12G servers, including the R820 (above). Image credit: Dell

The second wave of Xeon E5-based PowerEdge 12th Generation servers were unveiled by Dell on Monday. One is shipping immediately, with five more to arrive toward the end of May and three during the summer. Each server has Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller 7 (iDRAC7) management software, along with Lifecycle Controller 2.0 software for individual status updates and diagnostics.

"We're trying to share as much technology as we can without completely changing the cost profile of the server," Tony Parkinson, a vice president in Dell's small and medium-sized business division, told ZDNet UK.

With the launch, Dell is updating PowerEdge servers aimed at larger or growing small businesses with Intel's latest Xeon E5 processor: for example the T310 has been beefed up to become the T320. By adding iDRAC7 in the servers, Dell has "seen a reduction in admin days on the order of 30 days versus an unmanaged server", Parkinson said.

The first wave of PowerEdge 12G servers, also built on Intel's Xeon E5 chip and with iDRAC7, made their debut in February.

iDRAC7 is software for out-of-band management and is integrated into each server via an on-motherboard card. It lets businesses remotely shut down, start up and restart misbehaving servers, and it supports remote console access for fine-grained management of the machines. It also lets users mount disk images onto the servers remotely for installing new operating systems.

Server types

The servers come as standard rack, blade and tower set-ups. The M820, M520 and M420 are blades and are built to provide scalability, power efficiency and density, respectively, Dell said. Each blade has hot-swappable hard drives, to cut down on maintenance time.

The M820 is Dell's first server to support its 'Fresh Air' cooling configuration. This allows the server to be run at significantly higher temperatures, even at 45°C for a short period of time, according to Dell. It promises to cut the cost of cooling infrastructure for datacentre managers and help to protect the hardware against cooling failures, Dell said.

"Clearly in a lot of places it is costing more to cool the servers than it is to run them," Parkinson said.

Dell describes the M420 as "the world's only quarter-height two-socket blade server" and says 32 of the servers can fit into a single chassis. It will compete with similarly dense hardware from the likes of SeaMicro and SuperMicro.

"If you look at the quarter-height blade, putting 32 of those in our chassis and having the ability to manage 288 of them on a single IP address is a big benefit," Parkinson said.

The R820, R520, R420 and R320 are rack servers. They have been created for dense virtualisation, standard virtualisation, scalability and basic web hosting, respectively. The T420 and T320 are tower servers designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses.

To support heavy use of virtualisation, the R520, R420, R320 and the T420 and T320 have greater memory capacity and better I/O than their predecessors, Dell said.

The PowerEdge R820 is available from Monday, starting at £4,729. The R520 (£1,259), R420 (£1,429), R320, M520 (£1,249) and M420 (£1,429) will go on sale later in May. The M820, T420 and T320 will begin shipping in the summer, with prices to be set closer to launch.

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