As the server industry awaits the official release of Intel next generation E5 processors next week, server vendors are busy announcing their own platform refreshes. Last week it was HP with its Gen8 platform; this week it's Dell with the 12G server platform.
While Intel's new server chips are at the heart of the 12G platform, Dell is delivering a new Fluid Data architecture to help improve performance beyond the CPU.
"There are plenty of innovations unrelated to the processor," Brian Payne, executive director of Dell Product Group Marketing, told InternetNews.com.
The 12G platforms provide enterprises and data centers with something Dell calls the Fluid Data Architecture and is already using in its storage products.
"Our vision is to erase the line between SAN infrastructure and compute," Kevin Noreen, director of Dell Systems Management Marketing, told InternetNews.com.
On the 12G servers, Fluid Data is being delivered by way of new Express Flash technology. Noreen explained Express Flash is flash storage capacity that is hooked up directly to PCI bus that is connected to the server CPU. It's available in a 2.5 inch drive carrier that is plugged into the server. Up to four Express Flash components can be included in a 12G server.
"You can't get closer to compute for quick, low-latency response times and greater throughput," Noreen said. "The benefit is 10.5 times more SQL transactions per second when running on a single Express Flash."
Additionally, 12G introduces the Dell Cachecade storage feature which is an automated tiering feature. Cachecade identifies hot data that would be better served by an SSD drive and then directs other less important data to run on less expensive traditional spinning media storage devices.
Management is another key non-CPU focus for the Dell 12G server platform. The Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (IDRAC) is being updated to version 7 to support 12G. IDRAC enables Dell administrators to remote manage, monitor and control servers. A key point Noreen stressed about IDRAC 7 is that it is an agent-free environment is directly embedded with the 12G servers.
The IDRAC technology will now also enable Dell administrators to manage their virtualized servers from within a VMware vCenter console. Going a step further, Dell is launching a new OpenManage Essentials product for basic server monitoring. The OpenManage Essentials is based on the OpenManage platform that Dell had in market for 15 years.
"There have been a lot of changes in the industry in recent years and we could not for example go and monitor VMware ESX boxes," Noreen said.