The evolving server foundation

Servers are the heart of the data center, and as hardware continues to evolve more advanced software is required to fully harness the technological advances in server design.  Performance and scalability are obvious enhancements but one of the most important aspects is the human interface into your servers and overall infrastructure.

Considering the server lifecycle, it’s important to think of the entire cycle from deployment to management to even retirement of servers.  At the core of every Dell PowerEdge server is iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller.  iDRAC ensures a consistent, unified interface across the product line, eliminating learning curves through intuitive interfaces.  iDRAC is agent-free so you don’t need an OS or hypervisor to start deploying your servers.  To further enhance and simplify management, Dell is the only provider using HTML 5 in its systems management.

Outside of more intuitive, simplified systems management and scalable higher performing hardware customers are also looking for integrated proven solutions that can be delivered either ready to deploy or are certified building blocks on which to build a foundation.

One of the highlights of this evolution is the Dell PowerEdge FX2 platform combined with VMware VSAN.  On the surface alone, the platform proves to be the most powerful 2U VSAN cluster in the world, and with the versatility of VSAN licensing you can easily add an all flash storage array to further scale performance and increase resource utilization.

The configuration in question started with three FC430 nodes and three 8 drive all flash LUNs.  This led to a 10X increase in performance versus the legacy solution.  Adding an additional node and LUN increased performance to 16X that of the legacy solution.  At this point, CPU was around 50% utilization, to further scale the solution and demonstrate the versatility of VSAN an SC4020 all flash array was added, pushing performance to 32X that of the legacy solution.

Dell’s FX2 and VMware’s VSAN combine to form a powerful combination.  By using the Dell Performance Analysis Collection Kit (DPACK), a free IT infrastructure planning and collaboration software, you can measure the performance of your own environment and compare it to the reference architecture. This will allow you to see how an FX2 and VSAN combination will support your existing IT infrastructure.

For the first time, reference architectures are personalized, providing a direct comparison between your own environment and a reference architecture.  With all the architecture choices out there I encourage you to leverage DPACK and get the clarity of how a new architecture could support your next project.

About the Author: Ravi Pendekanti

Ravi Pendekanti is Senior Vice President of Server Solutions Product Management at Dell, Inc. His organization is responsible for developing and bringing Dell’s flagship line of PowerEdge Servers and Converged Infrastructure systems to market, covering a broad spectrum of global customers from cloud service providers and small businesses to large enterprises and organizations, all running a wide range of workloads. Most recently, Ravi served as the Vice President of the Platform Business Group at Oracle where he looked after GTM activities including Product Marketing and Sales Enablement related to the platform business that included Engineered Systems (Exadata, Exalogic, OVCA and SuperCluster), Servers, Solaris and Networking. With over two decades of extensive global experience in the enterprise and SMB segment in both hardware (servers, storage and networking) and software, Ravi has also held leadership roles at Juniper Networks, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics. He holds a MS in Computer Science and BS in Electrical Engineering.