Dell Updates Blade Server Offering
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Dell is making up for lost time with its late entry into the blades market with an ambitious new design, both in the chassis and blades themselves.
The first point Dell wants to make about the PowerEdge M1000e series, unveiled Monday, is that it comes ready to run out of the box. Rather than being shipped in pieces, it was designed for shipment with all blades installed.
You can have it unboxed, plugged in and running in 15 minutes, said Rick Becker, vice president of solutions for Dell. "When we talk about making IT faster, we mean it by shipping the system preconfigured and ready to go out of the box," he said.
Dell is claiming considerable power savings over similar blade solutions from HP's BladeSystem c-Class and IBM's BladeCenter. Dell plans to phase out its existing blade server line, the M1955, but the same OpenManage administrative tools to run the 1955 will also support the 1000e.
The PowerEdge M1000e is a 10U-sized enclosure, supports 16 half height blade servers or a mix of full height blades, which Dell plans to ship some time in the near future. The chassis supports both the PowerEdge M600 and M605 blade servers, which contain two quad-core Xeon or two quad-core AMD Opteron processors, respectively.
The back plane of the M1000e is also a mix and match of fans, power supplies that Dell claims are 91 percent efficient and various network ports, all of which are hot swappable. The various back plane blades include an upgradeable Ethernet blade switch with four 1Gb ports and optional, three Cisco Ethernet switch options, two Brocade 4Gb Fibre Channel options, and FC4 Host Bus Adaptors from QLogic and Emulex.
The M1000e will not have backup blades, something found in competitive products from HP and IBM. "We think the chassis is best for deploying dense computing solutions," said Becker. "We have better solutions coming with dense storage and we think that that's a better solution than trying to do a half-job in the chassis."
James Staten, analyst with Forrester Research, had nothing but praise for the new blade system. "Dell's made a lot of interesting moves with these products in terms of setup, management, remote administration. They are a definite step up from the last round of blades," he said.
Staten said most customers who tend buy blades do so from their preferred server vendor. So if you are in HP's camp, you will buy from HP. Dell had no response, which sent its customers elsewhere. Despite coming late to the blades game, Staten said Dell closed the gap quickly with HP and IBM.
The new M1000e blade enclosure will be available from Dell on Wednesday with a starting price of $5,999 for the chassis and blades starting at $1,849.