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Dell’s new blade

Dell has released a new blade server — the PowerEdge 1855 — which will carry a host of innovative networking technologies. These enhancements will increase the viability of the server in data centre environments.

Dell has vowed to pack advanced network connectivity its blade server solutions in the coming months. Its new blade server, the PowerEdge 1855 is designed to incorporate future I/O technologies such as 10Gigabit throughput, which it expected to become available in late 2005.

Furthermore, Brocade is expected to release the Silkworm 3014 switch in February 2005, which will fit into the Dell PowerEdge 1855 chassis. The server will also accommodate TopSpin InfiniBand pass through connections, which are expected to come online in mid 2005. The vendor has also designed a PowerConnect switch from its own range to fit into the chassis.

“This is part of a trend we are seeing of bringing different elements from switches to host bus adapters (HBAs) and storage into the server chassis,” says Jim McMahon, enterprise business manager, Dell.

“Connections such as Fibre Channel 2 and InfiniBand will be supported by the 1855 and this will enhance performance in the data centre and network storage arenas,” he adds.

The PowerEdge 1855 blade architecture supports up to ten servers in a 7U chassis that fits into a standard rack. It is designed for organisations with data centre space and cooling constraints that deploy large-scale web farms, application servers, and high-performance computing clusters, or as a consolidation platform for customers' business applications.

“The drivers for the blade server market is a need to reduce server density in order to save on real estate and therefore cut costs. We believe that a Dell blade implementation will typically result in 25% cost savings as compared to a rack-based implementations,” says McMahon.

Dell’s re-entry into the blade server market is a fair indication that the technology has gone mainstream. Dell mode of operation is to enter markets when market acceptance has been achieved and it is possible to ship in volume.

“Dell comes in when standards are established and the volume is there. A lot of progress has been made in terms of standards, although there is a lot of work to be done. Dell looks forward to a time when a chassis from any server vendor will accommodate blade modules from competing vendors,” says McMahon.

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