Large enterprises stay successful by constantly evaluating their ability to heighten value for their customers and proactively delivering on that potential. Their size alone often drives the direction in which they decide to move. For example, many enterprises wrestle with the challenges of integrating the various aspects of a large business to optimize operational efficiencies. Or they seek to maximize the value of enormous amounts of data to help achieve their business goals. As well, they may look for ways to improve the speed of their extended supply chain so they can compete even more effectively than before.

Powerful computing resources can help large enterprises address these challenges. Leveraging its firsthand experience as a global company, Dell designed the Dell PowerEdge R920 server to act as the backbone of a large enterprise’s IT infrastructure. The latest addition to the PowerEdge server family, the PowerEdge R920 provides the caliber of horsepower and massive memory capacity needed to accelerate large, mission-critical applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), as well as high-performance, in-memory databases.

Power and flexibility

Dell PowerEdge R920 server
The Dell PowerEdge R920 server provides state-of-the-art features that help large enterprises keep pace with the latest computing trends:

  • Immense, scalable memory capacity and up to four 15-core processors to accelerate application performance and data access
  • Advanced RAID capabilities to boost solid-state drive performance and optimize delivery of priority workloads
  • Redundant, hot-pluggable components for enhanced reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS)

Expediting data access

Many data centers today must deal with a seemingly endless stream of data produced by the latest IT innovations, including mobile computing, video and imaging. Exacerbating the issue are government and industry compliance regulations that now require data to be retained for longer periods of time. The PowerEdge R920 has been designed specifically to facilitate quick data access, helping data centers provide a comprehensive computational platform that avoids data bottlenecks to fully leverage its powerful processing capability. Not only does the PowerEdge R920 have exceptional processing horsepower, it also incorporates enhanced data access capabilities to feed that engine and keep it running smoothly at high levels of efficiency.

The PowerEdge R920 server’s immense, scalable memory capacity of up to 96 dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) makes it well suited for modernizing a data center with high-performance, in-memory databases such as the SAP HANA® and Oracle® TimesTen platforms. Implementing in-memory databases helps enterprises keep a competitive edge by enabling immediate access to business-critical information — leading to fast, informed decisions and shrinking customer response times.

With 10 PCI Express (PCIe) expansion slots, the PowerEdge R920 also helps match inevitable growth, allowing additional functionality enhancement and connectivity to external storage, such as enterprise storage area network (SAN) environments. Moreover, access to critical application data is enhanced through extensive data-centric features. The server supports up to 24 internal storage drives, including up to 8 PowerEdge Express Flash solid-state drives (SSDs) designed to offer ultralow latency and ultrahigh sequential read/write speeds.

Advancing RAID performance

Two RAID enhancements help further boost the overall data-access performance of the PowerEdge R920. The server supports the high-performance Dell PowerEdge Expandable RAID Controller (PERC) H730P for direct attach storage (DAS), which is designed to deliver significantly more I/Os per second than previous generations. The PERC H730P also can be optimized using specific workload profiles and managed agent-free through the Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller 7 (iDRAC7).

Moreover, the PowerEdge R920 is capable of supporting a dual internal PERC configuration with its 24-drive backplane, which enhances performance when a high number of SSDs is installed. By using two PERCs, administrators can dedicate one PERC to workloads requiring high I/O or throughput, maximizing the priority application’s performance.

Modernizing IT infrastructure

Infrastructure modernization helps IT leaders position their organizations and data centers for future growth. By incorporating open systems and innovative technologies, enterprises can take advantage of the latest trends and paradigms, such as virtualization, mobility and big data.

The PowerEdge R920 platform is an excellent alternative for organizations currently running enterprise applications in proprietary RISC environments. Migrating to the cost-effective, high-performance PowerEdge R920 enables enterprises to improve efficiency and agility, lower total cost of ownership, and gain a flexible IT infrastructure that can scale with future growth.

Through a long history of successful working relationships with top partners such as Oracle and SAP, as well as acquisitions of Make Technologies and Clerity Solutions, Dell is able to help enterprises smoothly move their people, processes and technology to a modern x86-based architecture. (For more information, see the sidebar, “Streamlined management across Oracle environments.”)

Boosting processor performance

The latest advances in Intel® processor technology contribute significantly to the PowerEdge R920 server’s outstanding enterprise performance. The server supports up to four processors from the Intel® Xeon® processor E7-4800 v2 product family. These processors deliver a combination of high-performing computing threads; hardware-based advanced reliability features; and large memory, cache and bandwidth capacity, which leads to exceptional levels of scalability, application performance and uptime. With up to 15 cores each, the Intel Xeon processor E7-4800 v2 is designed to handle extremely demanding and critical applications.

Heightening reliability

Along with high performance, large enterprises require a dependable IT infrastructure. Downtime in any part of the mission-critical infrastructure can lead to significant erosion in productivity, profitability and customer loyalty.

Like all PowerEdge servers, the PowerEdge R920 has many reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) features, including redundant hot-plug power and cooling, front-accessible hot-plug drives and fail-safe hypervisor capability on redundant embedded Secure Digital (SD) cards. The server further extends hypervisor availability using Dell Fault Resilient memory, a feature that establishes an in-memory zone designed to protect the hypervisor from anything but the most extreme memory corruption errors. In addition, the Intel Xeon processor E7-4800 v2 implements Intel® Run Sure Technology RAS features, including enhanced diagnostics and predictive failure analysis.

Adapting to the needs of large enterprises

Today’s large enterprises seek to enhance their IT infrastructure so they can rapidly achieve business results, leading to an outstanding return on their technology investments. The PowerEdge R920 is designed to deliver the performance, scalability and reliability enterprises need to achieve unprecedented efficiencies. Data centers have the flexibility to customize the server for optimal performance of specific workloads while still accommodating growth as the environment changes. With its built-in adaptability, the PowerEdge R920 is well suited as the foundation for a large enterprise IT infrastructure.

Paul Steeves is a senior marketing manager for the Dell Enterprise Solutions Group.

Carey Dietert is a senior marketing consultant at Dell focused on data warehousing and business intelligence messaging.

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Streamlined management across Oracle environments

Many large enterprises rely on an Oracle database environment to advance operational success and expand business acumen. As part of the Oracle stack in the data center, Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is rapidly emerging as the Linux®-based OS of choice, with Oracle VM as the preferred virtualization platform in this environment. The Dell PowerEdge R920 is designed to suit these operating environments, enabling the performance, efficiency, scalability and dependability needed to be deployed as a robust foundation of business-critical Oracle systems. The PowerEdge R920 currently supports Oracle Linux and is undergoing validation testing for Oracle VM support, which is expected in the second half of this year.

To help enterprises rapidly deploy infrastructure, maximize resource efficiency and strengthen service quality in an Oracle-based data center, Dell has teamed with long-standing partner Oracle to deliver the Dell Active Infrastructure for Oracle portfolio. Forming the centerpiece of the portfolio is a broad range of tested and validated reference architectures that feature Oracle Validated Configurations built and optimized for Oracle Linux and Oracle VM. Active Infrastructure for Oracle also provides detailed implementation guidance that includes options for automated installation.

As well as easing deployment, Active Infrastructure for Oracle helps administrators address other aspects of maintaining an Oracle environment. The portfolio is designed to support the management and monitoring of the entire Oracle stack.

One tool that provides visibility into Oracle database and application environments is Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. Oracle Enterprise Manager allows administrators to quickly pinpoint performance issues that may arise in the Oracle infrastructure. In its native state, however, Oracle Enterprise Manager shows only the performance of the applications, not the underlying hardware infrastructure.

To streamline access to hardware element management, the Dell OpenManage Plug-in v1.0 for Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is designed to provide hardware discovery, inventory, monitoring, mapping between workload and hardware, device association and management console launch — all from within Oracle Enterprise Manager. By integrating hardware element management features of Dell OpenManage Essentials, the plug-in provides an in-tool view of the Dell hardware elements of an Oracle deployment, a critical component for performance optimization.

This integrated approach allows administrators to proactively manage the lifecycle of software and hardware deployments, including fault isolation and troubleshooting. It also provides a holistic view of the infrastructure — applications, operating systems and hardware — from one common tool interface.

The integrated plug-in is just one example of cooperative engineering efforts that Dell and Oracle plan to offer in 2014. Dell and Oracle also provide joint support for Oracle platforms. For example, enterprises can choose to purchase support contracts for Oracle Linux, Oracle VM and Oracle Enterprise Manager directly from Dell.

Through an expanded and evolving relationship, Dell continues to work closely with Oracle to enhance the performance, efficiency and quality of the IT experience for Oracle administrators. These innovations help enterprises get the fast deployment and exceptional support they need throughout the Oracle stack, from OS to application.