Servers

Dell revamps its PowerEdge server line

Not one to get too far behind when it comes to keeping its server line current, Dell this week released five new PowerEdge server models. While some of the new models can be considered refreshes of existing models, Dell has added support for Intel's newest 5500 series processors and has upped the ante when it comes to how much RAM can be supported in a single box. Scott Lowe looks at the new server choices.

This week, Dell released a whole slew of product announcements, including the continuation of a major revamp of the PowerEdge server line.  As a long-time big fan of Dell servers, I'm pretty excited about the new hardware.

In general, you won't find much that is significantly revolutionary in the new server designs. In most cases, the new server models update older versions by adding support for newer Intel processors, additional RAM, and more internal storage. The servers do have a new look, though. Now, to be fair, the servers support a lot more RAM -- 50% more, in fact. As data centers continue to shrink due to virtualization, increasing memory capability is critical.

The servers also sport:

  • New embedded management capabilities designed to simplify server and infrastructure management.
  • Energy efficient options to help organizations achieve green initiatives.

(updated 4/10 based on reader feedback:

  • Intel's 5500 series processors have been shown to achieve more than double the performance of 5400 series units.  Dell's 11th generation PowerEdge servers all support these new processors.
  • New power supplies available in the 11th generation server design feature Energy Smart operation that allows system power to be reduced while performance is increased.

PowerEdge R610

Although I haven't found any documentation indicating that Dell plans to discontinue the PowerEdge 1950 III, I can't imagine that the older model won't be replaced by the new PowerEdge R610, Dell's 1U rack-mountable newcomer to the PowerEdge server line. The R610 brings all of the enhancements that one would expect, including support for additional RAM (up to 96 GB), six drive bays in the 1U factor, and support for the newest Intel processors.

PowerEdge R610

  1950 III R610
Form Rack Rack
Height 1U 1U
Sockets Dual Dual
Max cores Eight Eight
Processors Xeon 5400 Xeon 5500
Chipset Intel 5000X Intel 5520
Max RAM 64GB 96GB
Drive bays 2 x 2.5" or 2 x 3.5" 6 x 2.5"
Max int. disk 2.0 TB 3.0 TB
Network ports 2 x GbE 2 x GbE

PowerEdge R710

Picking up where the PowerEdge 2950 III left off, Dell's new PowerEdge R710 server also increases server capacity by providing for up to 144 GB of RAM in the 2U form factor along with eight 2.5" drive bays and maximum internal storage of 6.0 TB. Like its older cousin, the R710 is a rack mountable server, but the new system provides four gigabit Ethernet ports on the motherboard, whereas the 2950 III provided two. 

PowerEdge R710

  2950 III R710
Form Rack Rack
Height 2U 2U
Sockets Dual Dual
Max cores Eight Eight
Processors Xeon 5400 Xeon 5500
Chipset Intel 5000X Intel 5520
Max RAM 64GB 144GB
Drive bays 8 x 2.5" or 6 x 3.5" 8 x 2.5" or 6 x 3.5"
Max int. disk 6.0 TB 6.0 TB
Network ports 2 x GbE 4 x GbE

PowerEdge T610

Dell also introduced an update to its venerable PowerEdge 2900 III tower server. Dubbed the PowerEdge T610, this new server increases total RAM capacity from 64 GB to 96 GB and total maximum internal storage from 6.0TB to 8.0TB. This is the one update that kind of disappoints me. This 5U behemoth has less expansion capability than one would think when compared to the R610 and R710. In the R710, for example, total possible RAM is 144 GB, with only 96 GB allowed in the T610.  Further, even though the T610 can support up to 8 TB of internal disk space allowed in eight drive bays, with 5U of space, it seems like a lost opportunity to provide a great general purpose storage server with, say, 16 bays. Maybe that'll come when (if) Dell releases a T710 model. 

PowerEdge T610

 

  2900 III T610
Form Tower Tower
Height 5U 5U
Sockets Dual Dual
Max cores Eight Eight
Processors Xeon 5400 Xeon 5500
Chipset Intel 5000X Intel 5520
Max RAM 64GB 96GB
Drive bays 4 x 3.5" or

6 x 3.5" or

8 x 2.5"
8 x 2.5" or 8 x 3.5"
Max int. disk 6.0 TB 8.0 TB
Network ports 2 x GbE 2 x GbE

PowerEdge M610

The M610 is Dell's first hardware revision of the M600, initially introduced as a part of Dell's new M1000e blade solution. Personally, I love the M1000e/M600 combination we're using at Westminster College, so I'm happy to see a hardware update. Like the M600, the M610's default configuration comes with dual gigabit Ethernet adapters, but the M610's RAM capacity is 96 GB as compared to the M600's 64 GB limit.  Further, the M610 can make use of larger disks, meaning that a single half-height blade can hold up to 600 GB of space. 

PowerEdge M610

 

  M600 M610
Form Blade Blade
Height Half Half
Sockets Dual Dual
Max cores Eight Eight
Processors Xeon 5400 Xeon 5500
Chipset Intel 5000X Intel 5520
Max RAM 64GB 96GB
Drive bays 2 x 2.5" 2 x 2.5"
Max int. disk 300 GB 600 GB
Network ports 2 x GbE 2 x GbE

PowerEdge M710

The new M710 is really the only new server that doesn't have a predecessor. The M710's capabilities, not to mention its model number, have it sitting between the M610 and the quad processor M900 series blade. The M710 is a full-height blade supporting up to 144 GB of RAM (this thing has eighteen DIMM sockets), 1.2TB of internal storage, and up to two processors. With 4 gigabit Ethernet ports in the base configuration, the M710 has ample communications capabilities, too. Because this is a full-height blade, there are four PCIe x8 mezzanine ports available for additional communications options, such as Fibre Channel.

PowerEdge M710

TechRepublic's Servers and Storage newsletter, delivered on Monday and Wednesday, offers tips that will help you manage and optimize your data center. Automatically sign up today!

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

9 comments
mike
mike

road map... from an online support session last mouth it looks like the 1950 and 1950 will EOL next fall (2009) Nothing has been announced at this point. Also with open manage embedded the current version of open mange might be the last week see for it as a piece of software. Open manage of the future will be embedded on to the board.

Scott Lowe
Scott Lowe

All, Thank you for noticing the bad copy and paste job on the 2950 III... I've corrected that and also updated the post with power and processor efficiency information. Scott

neilhallworth
neilhallworth

Any comments on power efficiency vs similar specs on the old models?

ben.bechard
ben.bechard

I see you list the 2950III as only supporting 2x2.5 or 2x3.5 but I'm 99% sure you can get it with 6x3.5 and 8x2.5. Unless I'm reading your article wrong or looking at the wrong models?

scberry
scberry

I believe the 2950 III actually had six drive bays.

sidekick
sidekick

Thanks Scott for this article. I love Dell, but I don't buy servers that often and the last time I did, I had to look at a lot of models trying to figure out what I needed. I wish Dell had something like this on their website.

mclghlne
mclghlne

The new Xeons offer roughly a 100% performance improvement in many datacenter (specifically VMWare) over the 54xx series.

What Name?
What Name?

Actually, you can get 8x 2.5" drives into a 2950 III. There might be alternative configurations with 6x 3.5" drives.

ben.bechard
ben.bechard

we must have posted at the exact same time....

Editor's Picks