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Dell customers get server building blocks with PowerEdge FX

Dell is enabling customers to tailor datacentre technology to optimise a range of applications with the PowerEdge FX architecture.

Dell has announced the launch of its Dell PowerEdge FX architecture, a 2U enclosure with six PowerEdge server, storage, and network IOA sleds built specifically to fit into the FX2 chassis and support varying workloads.

Ravi Pendekanti, Dell server marketing platform vice president, told ZDNet that the FX architecture will address the gap within the converged infrastructure segment that has long seen vendors go down three main paths when it comes to releasing solutions: Vendors are releasing solutions that are workload specific; provide a single view into a disaggregated infrastructure of server, storage, and network; or are reference architecture solutions, with customers expected to assemble the infrastructure themselves.

Pendekanti added that often, converged solutions are either rack- or blade-based solutions, each with their own advantages. For example, rack is easy to install and use, as it gives users the option to put in disk, storage, data-as-a-service, and even PCIe cards. Meanwhile, blade-based solutions are modular, but also have greater density. On the flipside, connectivity at times can be complicated.

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Dell launches next-gen converged infrastructure FX2. Image: Screenshot by Aimee Chanthadavong/ZDNet

But with the FX2 architecture, it combines the features of both a rack and blade solution.

"We're making it very modular in the fact that we're providing the customer with a bunch of building blocks that can be utilised for the need of the application," Pendekanti said.

The architecture will also feature four compute modules: FC630, FC430, and FC830, which are based on the Xeon processor, and FM120, based on the Atom processor.

"If customers are looking at web serving, they really don't need the power and proximity of the Xeon, in which case we'll offer them Atom. If the customer on the other side is looking for a really high-performing solution to meet their high-performance computing needs, we'll offer them the Xeon," Pendekanti said.

In order to support high-performance applications and workloads, Dell's FX architecture features the PowerEdge FC430 that can support up to 16 sockets in a single FX2 enclosure. Meanwhile, Dell has also offered the PowerEdge FD332, where users can have up to 16 drives in a single sled.

"In a single FX2, you can have up to three of them, which essentially means you can have up to 48 drives. So if the customer is looking for big data solutions, they can go ahead and use an FD332 with three of them in a single FX2 chassis, and that gives them tremendous amount of flexibility in their storage, and if they need more, they can also do that too," Pendekanti said.

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FX2 converged portfolio Image: Screenshot by Aimee Chanthadavong/ZDNet

Expected to be shipped globally on December 2, the FX2 also includes advanced systems management capabilities aimed at focusing on simplification and automation. At the same time, there's a lifecycle controller to ensure that tools used across other Dell servers can be used with the FX2.

"The bottom line has been to keep their learning as constant as possible, because everybody is too busy to get somebody trained on new technology, and it can be an impediment to adoption.

"What we've done is ensure with lifecycle controller and all the way up to ASM is all supported on FX, it comes down to three things. It's about making optimising for different workloads, flexible architecture, and, as demand change, you have to change your modular blocks to suit them, and making sure you're efficient so and you don't have to go back to relearn and retool yourself," Pendekanti said.

Customers that have already tested the FX2 include Carnival Cruise, Flagship Networks, Overlake, and Appnexus.

Aimee Chanthadavong travelled as a guest of Dell to Dell World 2014.