Dell announces both Intel-related and internal improvements to their PowerEdge servers

Dell has announced the availability of its 13th generation servers with significant upgrades due to Intel’s release of its new Broadwell CPUs. The company, has, however, added some of its enhancements at the same time.

Brian Payne Dell cropped

Brian Payne, Executive Director/Server Platform at Dell.

Dell has announced enhancements to its Dell PowerEdge 13th generation servers. Some of these are related to the efficiencies of Intel’s new Broadwell CPUs, which of course will be enjoyed by all OEMs. Some of them, are, however, unique to Dell, including a new Virtual Flex Zoning Backplane and an enhanced Host Bus Adapter.

“It’s a moment in time with Intel’s launch of their Broadwell CPUs to reflect on what’s going on in the server business at Dell – to introduce some new capabilities and also reflect mid-way through the 13th generation of PowerEdge servers, and look at how things have been going so far,” said Brian Payne, Executive Director/Server Platform at Dell.

The new Broadwell [Xeon processor E5-2600 v4] CPUs from Intel translate directly into significantly enhanced performance.

“We have introduced the Broadwell CPUs across all our 2-socket server models, and we will see important performance gains, in the 20-40 per cent range,” Payne said. For instance, the PowerEdge R730 with the E5-2699 v4 processor delivered a 27.6 per cent performance improvement from the previous generation running the SAP SD 2 Tier (Linux) benchmark.

“We don’t expect that people will run out and upgrade their Haswell CPUs, which were shipping until this week, with Broadwell, but there is a lot of aged infrastructure out there, and we see a big opportunity for Broadwell’s new performance capability to attract this market,” Payne said.

Concurrent with the Broadwell-related upgrades, Dell also introduced several new capabilities of their own.

“One is our new Virtual Flex Zoning Backplane design in the PowerEdge R730xd, Payne said. “It gives customers more granularity to get the right mix of SSD and spinning drives in rotation for a given workload – more SSD disks for read-intensive environments, and more spinning disks for archive. This gives customers the ability to dial in more granularity with this backplane to get the right workload.”

Dell also announced a new version of their HBA330 Host Bus Adapter.

“In a lot of software-defined storage, they don’t need RAID functionality, but they do need an adapter to conduct compute to storage, and that’s what we are doing with the H330 that we are releasing across the PowerEdge portfolio,” Payne said.

Dell also announced that it can support the new higher-watt Intel CPU, the E5-2689 v4, on the PowerEdge R730 with Dell air-cooled support, giving it a competitive advantage over liquid cooled solutions from competitors.

“This kind of CPU is used by customers like high-frequency traders, and we came up with a special heat sink just for this SKU so that it can be air cooled,” Payne said. “This gives us a significant differentiation in this particular market.”

Payne also indicated that Dell had added a systems management enhancement as well.

“We have introduced HTML5 support for virtual consoles, to make sure customers’ experience in managing it is a pane of glass,” he said.

Payne stressed that that the anticipated future strength from these enhanced servers builds on strong recent performance, reflecting significant Dell investment in making application performance more efficient and effective, and improving systems management tools, including the elimination of agents from the monitoring or server infrastructure.

“We have been on a successful venture in terms of driving revenue growth, including a strong growth multiplier in our North American channel business,” he said. “It increased over 28 per cent year-over-year for partners who are certified on PowerEdge servers. We also saw strong growth in our converged [blade] systems with our FX2 modular blade server architecture, M100E blade chassis, and VRTX mini-blade chassis. In Q3, IDC said we saw 5x growth in blades compared to the rest of the market.”

The upgraded Dell PowerEdge 13th generation servers are available now.