Menu
Dell looks to wow clients with a new type of converged system

Dell looks to wow clients with a new type of converged system

The PowerEdge FX has a modular design that can be configured for different workloads

Dell's new PowerEdge FX2 platform

Dell's new PowerEdge FX2 platform

Dell kicked off its customer conference in Texas this week, almost exactly a year after it became a private company, and announced a new type of server that Michael Dell bragged has the most compute density of its kind.

Dell took some learnings from its Data Center Solutions group, which builds systems for hyperscale clients like Facebook and Yahoo, and applied them to the new system targeted at enterprise customers.

Called the PowerEdge FX2, it's based on a 2U (3.5-inch) enclosure with shared power, cooling and management components, into which customers can slide different combinations of storage and compute depending on the workload at hand.

Dell says it has the density of a blade server but is easier to manage and connects easily to direct-attached storage systems, which isn't usually the case with blade servers, says Ravi Pendekanti, vice president for server marketing. DAS systems can cut down latency times and are useful for data analytics.

Dell designed special half-width servers for the FX2 that are sold with Intel Atom processors for web serving or powerful Xeon chips for virtualization. The chassis can be filled with four half-width FC630 servers, for instance, each with two 18-core Xeon E5 chips, 24 memory DIMMS, two 2.5-inch or four 1.8-inch storage drives, and a 10Gb SNA.

The FX2 enclosure and half-width servers start shipping December 2, Pendekanti said. Dell will also sell quarter-width and full-width servers, for HPC, databases and other workloads, but those systems won't be ready until the first quarter next year.

The FX2 resembles a smaller version of Hewlett-Packard's Moonshot system, though the HP product is more flexible -- it supports ARM as well as x86 CPUs and has a more advanced network fabric. But the Dell system, with the chassis starting at $1,699 without the servers, has a much cheaper entry price.

According to Dell it's easy to set up, too. It can be managed using its standard iDRAC8 tools and a new version of Dell's Open Manager Essentials, Pendekanti said. It also fits in a standard server rack.

It's debatable whether the FX2 is a "converged" architecture in the same way as VCE VBlock, IBM PureFlex or HP Shark, but it's a smart approach to a modular server design, said IDC analyst Jed Scaramella.

"Rather than choosing between blades or racks, Dell can offer a single server platform that widely configurable," he said. "Because the compute and storage are in the enclosure, the management is simplified. This might be the most 'converged' element of the offering."

One of Dell's challenges will be to get customers to understand the product, and Michael Dell already started talking it up at Dell World on Tuesday evening. He called it the world's most dense converged infrastructure system, though his competitors might dispute that claim.

It shows Dell doing some innovation a year after the company went public, but it has a checkered history with this type of integrated system. It shelved a line of converged products announced two years ago under the Active Systems brand, which replaced a family of products called vStart that was also killed off.

"Dell PowerEdge FX is the evolution of Dell Active Systems," it said in a statement to IDG News.

"We heard loud and clear that customers need the ability to tweak their infrastructure based on their workload needs -- e.g. they need to keep the architecture common, but tweak server, storage, networking based on these business needs," Dell said. "So Active Systems evolved to PowerEdge FX -- and Active System Manager remains a management option."

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Dellservershardware systemsLow-end servers

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments