Dell boosts performance with latest PowerEdge servers

The PC maker hopes its latest initiative will finally give it the credibility it craves in enterprise computing
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor on

Dell celebrated what it dubbed "Enterprise Day" on Tuesday with the launch of three new PowerEdge servers, a new blade system, new software and hints of new services offerings. The launches are Dell's latest effort to gain respect, as well as market share, in enterprise computing.

But while Dell was making no secret of its ambitions for enterprise computing at the conference to mark the event in Monte Carlo, it also made it clear that it is staying firmly close to its roots. The new servers, the PowerEdge 1950, 2900 and 2950, are all Intel-based and are as industry-standard as they come.

If Dell aims to set itself apart, it is doing so through efficiency. The company claims that thanks mainly to the dual-core Intel Xeon processors in each box, power consumption is down by "up to 25 percent", and there is a consequential increase in performance per watt of "up to 169 percent". This, the company claims, means lower costs.

And Dell also says it is maturing its line of servers. This is the ninth version of its server architecture, and the aim is to continue to "reduce complexity and enhance the design", according to Jay Parker, vice-president in charge of the PowerEdge line.

"Our entire strategy rests on open systems, and is the world's only scalable enterprise strategy," Parker said, adding that this is proving very successful for Dell. This year, "revenue from x86 servers surpassed revenue from legacy systems for the first time," he said.

Some of the innovation is coming from doing the simple things right, according to the company. The new systems have LCD screen on the front, which can be programmed to display status messages or error warnings so that technicians get can a clear picture of a pending problem without having to return to a management console.

The company has also made sure its new management software, included with the servers, works well with software from partners like EMC and VMware. "We're taking the chaos out of our customers' environments," said Brad Anderson, senior vice-president and general manager of Dell's product group.

They also now have die-cast drive carriers to improve drive reliability, and each drive is now labelled with the technology it uses — SATA or SAS — as well as the drive speed. There is also a new version (8.0) of Dell OpenManager.

The new servers are available immediately, Dell says. The PowerEdge 1950 costs £899, as does the PowerEdge 2900, while the PowerEdge 2950 is £1,549.

CNET News.com's Tom Krazit contributed to this report.

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