Dell plugs in new enterprise servers

Touting its development work with Intel and Oracle, Dell launches its newest enterprise servers, along with related database services.

Dell Computer released its latest high-end business servers on Wednesday, promising that the machines will provide customers with more power to handle complex database applications.

The hardware maker introduced its Dell PowerEdge 6800 and PowerEdge 6850 server models, each of which feature four of Intel's latest 64-bit Xeon processors. Dell claims the machines will deliver 32 percent faster performance than its previous four-processor servers and said the database-oriented computers are ideal for tasks such as server consolidation and virtualization, and migration from RISC-based systems.

The new computers are the first Dell models to bring 64-bit extensions into four-Xeon servers. Intel first released the 64-bit feature, which vastly increases the amount of memory a server can use, in the Xeon model for dual-processor servers in 2004. But four-processor servers are more likely to run into the 4GB memory barrier of 32-bit processors.

As part of the roll-out, Dell emphasized its work with both Intel and database software specialist Oracle in refining the machines' capabilities. A good deal of those efforts were undertaken as part of the MegaGrid grid computing project that Dell launched along with EMC, Intel and Oracle, the company said.

Dell rival Hewlett-Packard has competing Opteron-based server models on the market but has yet to release machines offering the 64-bit Xeon 4-way design. IBM has announced plans to use the processors in its xSeries 336 servers, which are currently due to ship by mid-May.

"We've refreshed our entire product line with a consistent set of design parameters and standardization opportunities to allow our customers to more easily validate and implement our servers into their enterprise," Jeff Clarke, senior vice president of Dell's Enterprise Product Group, said during a conference call.

Dell said the PowerEdge 6800 and PowerEdge 6850 will reach the market sometime in the next several weeks, and will retail at base prices of US$3,999 and US$4,899, respectively.

In addition to the two new devices, Dell announced a new Data Center Environmental Assessment service, which is meant to assist customers in maximizing the performance of their server networks. The service includes evaluation of thermal and power requirements, and analysis of air flow design.