Dell’s PowerEdge M915 – The Next Big Thing for Virtualization

For Dell, the development of new PowerEdge servers has
always started with listening to what our customers are doing in their ever-changing
environments and what key capabilities were needed to overcome both the
challenges they face today as well as those they expect to face tomorrow.   One key element which was expressed time and
time again by our customers was the exponential increase in the utilization of
their platforms, mainly driven by the prevalence and increased density of their
virtual environments.  Greater
usage of virtualization
across the board and the greater number of virtual
machines per physical node is putting increased CPU utilization and physical
memory demands on these platforms as well as dramatically driving throughput

With the newest member of the award-winning M-series line of
blade servers, the PowerEdge
, Dell has released a platform that is more than capable of helping our
customers to overcome these challenges. 
A four-socket blade server powered by AMD’s
Opteron 6100 series processors
, the M915 brings up to 48 CPU cores and
512Gb of memory to bear on their increasingly dense virtualization environments,
able to deploy up to eight separate M915’s in the 10U M1000e
blade enclosure
.    The
substantial processing power and memory scalability of the M915 can support highly
dense VM environments as well as the accelerating trend towards the
virtualization of mission-critical Tier 1 applications.

To better address increasing throughput requirements, the
M915 includes Dell’s network daughter card implementation previously introduced
on the M710HD.  This capability allows a choice of up to four
Gigabit Ethernet NICs or up to four 10Gb CNAs for the embedded networking infrastructure,
either integrated in the factory or as an upgrade for customers whose needs
change over the life of the system.  This
implementation, unique to Dell blade servers, allows
choice of technologies and capabilities
on all of the fully redundant
fabrics on the M915, and can allow for as many as twelve physical 10Gb Enhanced
Ethernet networking ports to be configured on a single blade.  The M915’s 10Gb CNA daughtercard also offers
switch-independent partitioning, allowing each 10Gb port to be separated into
up to four partitions for granular management of different types of networking
traffic.  Unlike previous networking partition
schemes, Dell’s partitioning is managed at the NIC level, and will work with
any 10Gb network switch infrastructure.  

The increasing density of virtual environments has also
brought an increased focus on the resiliency of the host infrastructure.  With more virtual machines per physical node,
the failure of a single physical server can result in much longer periods of
downtime before the successful restart of all virtual machines can be
accomplished.  With the announcement by
VMware that only the “ESXi version” of their hypervisor will be developed
moving forward, the focus of on how to support embedded hypervisors efficiently
has exploded.  The M915 includes Dell’s
unique Failsafe Hypervisor, which supports redundant SD media for embedded
hypervisors (such as VMware
vSphere ESXi
) and provides the same redundancy and failover of traditional
hard drive RAID 1 implementations.

In short, the M915 is an exceptionally capable platform,
offering a singular combination of features for virtualization infrastructure
deployments. To find out more about how the PowerEdge M915 can improve your
data center efficiency check out the video below. Let us know what you think.  

About the Author: Robert Bradfield