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Dell Gets Into Blade Game

Dell Computer Corp. this week delivered on an earlier promise to begin shipping blade servers. It is immediately offering a 3U enclosure that packs as many as 12 processors.

The Dell 1655MC starts at $3,298 for an enclosure and one server blade. The enclosure can fit up to six server blades, which share common power supplies, cooling fans, management cards and network switches.

Randy Groves, vice president of Dell's Enterprise Systems Group, says the "design will address issues our data center customers face, reducing cables by up to 80 percent and rack space by nearly 50 percent." Dell officials also contend the common components that the blades share throughout the enclosure saves nearly 30 percent in costs.

Dell offers the new servers with Pentium III processors and Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Windows 2000 Server or Red Hat Linux.

Server management elements of the offering include an integrated Embedded Remote Access Module that provides remote power control and status monitoring capabilities for the servers. Because the servers are designed for deployment by the dozens or hundreds, Dell also offers OpenManage Remote Install software for simultaneous provisioning of server blades from any location.

The 1655MC was first unveiled in April, although at the time Dell expected to deliver it in the third quarter of 2002.

It is the first in Dell's line of blade servers. The next steps include blade servers based on Intel's low-power processors and servers with "brick" designs, similar to what IBM is delivering in its eServer xSeries 440 line. Those servers ship in four-processor modules that can be joined together to create large SMP systems.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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