Dell EMC emphasizes synergies between newly-launched Intel processors and its OpenManage software enhancements

While the sizzle in the new Intel server processors is the new Optane persistent memory, Dell EMC is emphasizing that new systems management software enhancements will optimize its potential over competitive servers.

The new Dell EMC server portfolio

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, in conjunction with the Intel Cascade Lake [2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable] processor launch here, Dell EMC is announcing multiple enhancements to their PowerEdge server portfolio. While the leveraging of the new Intel technology, particularly the new Intel Optane DC persistent memory, is a major part of the story, so is the unique IP Dell EMC is adding to their own servers, and their OpenManage systems management software.

“There are really three buckets to our announcement, in terms of our own IP,” said Ravi Pendekanti, SVP Product Management and Marketing, Server and Infrastructure Systems at Dell EMC. These are around security, management, and scalability.

“In the area of security, we are coming out with enterprise key management with our new OpenManage Secure Enterprise Key Manager,” Pendekanti said. “It provides a centralized version of managing keys for self-encrypting drives.”

The other security enhancement is a new FlexSelect Secure capability within OpenManage that gives customers the flexibility to adapt and scale their security solutions, based on their own security policies. This includes new security and encryption options added to the integrated Dell Remote Access Controller [iDRAC].

“The second part of our announcement is that we are giving more control to customers in terms of making it easier to manage and monitor systems,” Pendekanti said. “We are introducing new augmented reality features as part of OpenManage Mobile. It gives customers a graphical representation of exactly what will happen of something occurs within their environment – such as if they add more memory. This is something that we haven’t had before.”

A new FlexSelect Manage feature provides better power management integration, by extending OpenManage Enterprise management capabilities through a plug-in architecture that lets management capabilities be customized for specific business needs.

“Power is becoming more important than ever,” Pendekanti said. “How do you best manage power? This plug-in architecture makes it very easy for customers to manage power effectively.”

The third element, Pendekanti said, is improved performance and scalability. In a benchmark test, a single Dell EMC PowerEdge R940 server with the new processors successfully hosted 69,500 simultaneous users with SAP Sales and Distribution software. That’s a 60.5 per cent increase in supported users from a single server compared to the PowerEdge R930 13th generation server.

“It builds off what Intel is doing with Cascade Lake, in particular its new Intel DC Optane persistent memory,” Pendekanti stated. “We believe that our uniqueness here is that OpenManage can do better tuning of BIOS, drives and memory based on specific workloads. A database is very different workload from an application suite and Open Manage’s auto-discovery capabilities will replicate configurations across multiple servers.” The company says that its easy BIOS tuning with workload-optimized server configuration profiles will let customers configure optimal performance as they add new technologies or workloads.

“There has been a lot of excitement in the industry because people have been talking about persistent memory for a couple years, but we couldn’t support it in our servers until this processor come out,” Pendekanti said. Optane can accelerate in-memory databases, virtualization and data analytics workloads with up to 2.5 times more memory capacity for select PowerEdge Servers. The PowerEdge R740xd enabled up to 2.7 times the transactions per second with an Intel Optane DC persistent memory compared to NVMe drives in a virtualized Microsoft SQL Server 2019 preview environment with VMware ESXi.

“It’s not just a performance issue, it’s price performance,” Pendekanti said. “Customers are looking at the advancing end of support for SQL 2008 and seeing a 2.7x improvement in SQL database performance with this. We think over the next quarter, a lot of customers will kick tires, and we expect to see a good amount of interest over the next few quarters.”

Pendekanti said that this is a very big deal for partners, and that it’s more than just upgraded server processors.

“Most of our partners are dabbling with moving the needle further on software-defined data centres,” he stated. “There’s a huge perception that’s desired state they want customers to get to. This will help to move the needle on this. We believe that our unique IP around this should be very exciting to partners.”

Some Dell EMC servers with the new processors will be available in two weeks, on April 16. These are the PowerEdge R940, R740, R740xd, R740xd2, R640, and C6420 servers. Additional PowerEdge servers, including those for PowerEdge MX, will be globally available with the processor upgrade in the second quarter of 2019.

Intel Optane DC persistent memory will be available for hands-on trials through a Dell EMC customer proof of concept program and through Dell Technologies Customer Solution Centers beginning this April and generally available globally later in the second quarter of 2019 on select two- and four-socket PowerEdge servers.

Dell EMC OpenManage updates will be globally available across the PowerEdge portfolio throughout the second quarter of 2019.