Dell thrusts blade into datacentres

A substantial price cut and footprint squeeze show a new commitment from Dell to getting its enterprise-class blade servers into...

A substantial price cut and footprint squeeze show a new commitment from Dell to getting its enterprise-class blade servers into data centres.

This week the company rolled out a new architecture that supports up to 10 enterprise-class blade servers in a seven-unit chassis that can fit into a standard-size rack. The new PowerEdge 1855 servers, which company officials said cost 25% less than existing one-unit servers, will be aimed at corporate IT shops that face space and cooling constraints but need to run larger web and applications farms.

The new hardware will be bundled with Dell's OpenManage software, which helps administrators consolidate chassis and blade management functions into a single interface. Company executives said the physical consolidation of associated rack cables with blades could lower the quantity of cabling by up to 70%.

Some of Dell's users believe the 1855 range reveals a new level of commitment to establish blade technology as an integral piece of infrastructure in corporate datacentres.

"They are sending a message to the marketplace that blades are now ready for prime time," said Bob Kuntz, vice-president for LandAmerica Financial.

Standard technical pieces of the new system include Intel's Xeon EM64T chips, PCI Express I/O, 16Gbyte of DDR2 memory and dual integrated network interface cards. Storage options include two hot-plug internal SCSI hard drives and Fiber Channel support for connecting to storage area networks.

OpenManage 4 contains built-in chassis management and support for remote management through the Dell Remote Access Controller/Modular Chassis. It supports the deployment software from Microsoft and Altiris, the load balancing software from F5 Networks and VMware's virtualisation software.

Available now, the chassis pricing on the PowerEdge1855 starts at $2,999 (£1,620) with individual blades carrying a base price of $1,699. A half-populated blade enclosure costs $11,494, with a fully populated version going for $19,989.

More information about the systems is available at www.dell.com or www.dell.com/photos.

Ed Scannell writes for InfoWorld

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