Driving better business outcomes with office-optimized IT
Integrated IT platforms can be the key to success for quickly growing remote office/branch office (ROBO) sites. Today’s offices support a number of IT functions that not only provide support for that office, but also host core applications that connect to a centrally managed data center. This scenario occurs across organizations of all sizes and types, including small businesses, large global entities, medical providers, educational institutions and government agencies. While some organizations maintain tight controls to help ensure infrastructure and application consistency across each location, many do not, resulting in the need to support disparate hardware and software.
An optimized solutions platform designed from the ground up specifically for ROBOs and small offices, Dell PowerEdge VRTX (pronounced vertex) brings simplicity, efficiency and versatility to these environments. The PowerEdge VRTX platform integrates servers, storage, networking and management into a compact, quiet, office-optimized chassis the size of a tower server. The platform’s subsystems and components have been integrated, pretested and certified for rapid, confident initial deployment and smooth ongoing operation. (For more information, see the sidebar, “Winning combination.”)
Within a few short months of its initial launch in July 2013, Dell PowerEdge VRTX received several prestigious industry awards, including CRN 2013 Product of the Year, InfoWorld 2014 Technology of the Year, IT Pro Innovation Award, PC Pro 2013 Server of the Year, and the Windows IT Pro Gold Community Choice Award for Best Microsoft Windows Server Hardware of 2013.
These awards recognize not just the innovative design and simplified, intuitive management of PowerEdge VRTX. The accolades also underscore the proven financial benefits delivered by PowerEdge VRTX. For example, a study by Principled Technologies demonstrates that PowerEdge VRTX delivers a 26 percent lower total cost of ownership (TCO) over five years and approximately US$21,000 in savings, with a payback period of 33 months, compared to a configuration comprising three tower servers.* Moreover, compared to a leading public cloud service, VRTX offers a superior return on investment, with 63 percent lower TCO over five years — equivalent to over US$172,000 in savings — and a payback period of just 13 months.**
*“Comparing Performance and Cost: Dell PowerEdge VRTX vs. a Legacy Hardware Environment,” by Principled Technologies, commissioned by Dell Inc., June 2013, qrs.ly/i141rm1.
**“Meet Database Performance Needs While Reducing TCO With the Dell PowerEdge VRTX vs. a Leading Public Cloud Service,” by Principled Technologies, commissioned by Dell Inc., June 2013, qrs.ly/v441rm4.
Enhanced capabilities for outstanding efficiency
Dell recently enhanced PowerEdge VRTX with additional features and capabilities that boost the platform’s performance, availability and manageability. Support for up to four PowerEdge M-Series server nodes has expanded to include the PowerEdge M820 server node, enabling PowerEdge VRTX users to drive business-critical workloads such as back-end databases, data mining, data warehousing and business intelligence, as well as enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain and customer relationship management (CRM).
The four-processor PowerEdge M820 nodes feature the powerful and energy-efficient Intel® Xeon® processor E5-4600 v2 product family. The processors are designed to rapidly process and analyze large amounts of data in near-real time, boosting business intelligence.
To provide extensive storage space for this data, PowerEdge VRTX supports up to 25 hard drives, equating to a maximum of 48 TB of internal shared storage today and more as higher-capacity hard drives become available. The huge internal storage capacity of PowerEdge VRTX, along with the Intel processor’s ability to efficiently handle data-demanding, transaction-intensive workloads, enables users to keep data local — thereby driving down performance latency and cost associated with transferring data over a network.
With expanded capabilities to support workloads of this size and scale, PowerEdge VRTX can act as the central IT resource for an entire division of a large enterprise or public organization. In this light, enterprises not only are deploying PowerEdge VRTX for an independent insurance agent office, a single healthcare site, a single warehouse or a single university department. They also are expanding its utilization to drive insurance claims processing, healthcare delivery, logistics planning and educational services for an entire state or region. Moreover, support for optional graphics processing units (GPUs) enables virtual desktop capabilities — making PowerEdge VRTX well suited for organizations implementing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in their remote offices.
High-availability features throughout PowerEdge VRTX help protect data integrity and ensure system uptime for business-critical workloads. At the processor level, Intel® Run Sure Technology is designed to automatically detect and diagnose errors, contain faults and recover the server nodes in the event of error or failure. At the system level, PowerEdge VRTX implements advanced uptime capabilities, including high-availability cluster failover and live migration of virtualized servers inside the chassis. In addition, the extensive internal storage capacity of PowerEdge VRTX is now protected by an optional redundant PowerEdge RAID Controller (PERC), which provides high-availability RAID controller failover inside the chassis for critical workloads requiring continuous access to data.
Managing PowerEdge VRTX with its Chassis Management Controller (CMC) remains simple, efficient and intuitive. CMC helps reduce complexity by converging management of server nodes, storage, networking and power into a unified tool presented in a single console. CMC also allows users to view and remotely manage multiple PowerEdge VRTX systems, enabling IT administrators to expand their scope and reach — all from a single management console. When using CMC along with Geographical View for VRTX, IT administrators gain an instant, at-a-glance assessment of remote system location and health.
With the spring 2014 PowerEdge VRTX announcement, CMC for VRTX remains in lockstep with CMC used to manage PowerEdge blades in the data center. This consistency allows administrators to “use what they know” to manage remote PowerEdge VRTX systems in ROBOs, helping reduce the potential for error and control ongoing training costs.
Flexible infrastructure to support growth
The enhanced features and capabilities of PowerEdge VRTX expand the platform’s flexibility and adaptability. The server nodes can be mixed and matched to meet a wide range of needs. For example, a single PowerEdge VRTX can be configured with a PowerEdge M520 server node running front-end web serving, a PowerEdge M620 node performing application-level processing and a PowerEdge M820 node handling back-end database work.
This comprehensive, versatile “infrastructure in a box” fits into a compact chassis that requires only four cables for cabling redundancy — two for power and two for networking — and is designed to run as quietly as a hallway conversation for nondisruptive operation. Combined with intuitive systems management, the flexibility and innovative design of PowerEdge VRTX enables enterprises and organizations to attain heightened business outcomes and competitive advantage.
Tad Walsh is outbound marketing manager for server platforms in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell.
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