Dell Refreshes PowerEdge as Part of Hybrid Datacenter Push

In its effort to modernize its infrastructure to support hybrid cloud datacenters of all sizes, Dell EMC this week announced an upgraded version of its PowerEdge server.

The announcement came during the 2017 Dell EMC World conference taking place this week in Las Vegas, where the company put the spotlight on its new lineup of datacenter offerings.

Expected to be released this summer, the new PowerEdge 14 G servers are tied to the release of Intel's next-generation Xeon processors, code-named "Skylake Purley." This marks the first refresh of the PowerEdge server line in three years, as well as the first since Dell and EMC became a merged company. As expected, the new systems will offer the typical boosts in feeds and speeds. They will also represent a key component in Dell EMC's portfolio of converged and hyper-converged systems, as well as purpose-built appliances and engineered systems.

In addition, the PowerEdge 14 G will be the core compute platform for Dell EMC's forthcoming Azure Stack system and a new portfolio of datacenter tools, including the next generation of Dell EMC's NetWorker data protection offering, as well as upgraded VxRail 4.5, VxRack and XC Series systems.

"This is our 14th generation of servers, which is actually the bedrock of the modern datacenter," said David Goulden, president of Dell EMC, during the opening keynote session.

The new PowerEdge 14 G servers will be available for traditional datacenter applications in addition to Web-scale, cloud-native workloads. Among the key upgrades that Dell EMC will deliver in the new PowerEdge server line are increased app performance and response times. The company claims the servers will offer a 19x boost in non-volatile memory express (NVMe) low-latency flash storage and single-click BIOS tuning, enabling simpler and faster deployments of CPU-intensive workloads and the ability to choose from a variety of software-defined storage (SDS) options.

"We knew we had to accelerate the workloads. We had to reduce the latency to make sure we have handled the performance to transform peoples' businesses," said Ashley Gorakhpurwalla, president of the Server Solutions division at Dell EMC.

The server's new automatic multi-vectoring cooling allows for a greater number of GPU accelerators, which Dell EMC claims can increase the number of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) users by 50 percent.

In addition to the performance boost, officials are touting a more simplified management environment. The PowerEdge 14 G servers will support the new OpenManage Enterprise console and an expanded set of APIs, which Dell EMC said will deliver intelligent automation. The company described the new OpenManage Enterprise as a virtualized enterprise system management console with a simple user interface that supports application plug-ins and customizable reporting.

A new Quick Sync feature offers server configuration and monitoring on mobile devices. It boasts a 4x improvement in systems management performance over the previous version and can offer faster remediation via ProSupport Plus and Support Assist, which Dell EMC claims will reduce the time to resolve failures by up to 90 percent.

Dell EMC has also embedded some noteworthy security capabilities in the hardware, including SecureBoot, BIOS Recovery, signed firmware and the iDRAC RESTful API that conforms to Redfish standards. It also has better protection from unauthorized access control changes, with a new System Lockdown feature and a new System Erase function that ensures all data is wiped from a machine when taken out of commission.

The new PowerEdge servers were part of a number of other key datacenter offerings announced by Dell EMC this week. The servers will be offered with a variety of the company's new software-defined enterprise storage systems, including a new version of the Dell EMC ScaleIO SDS and upgrades to its Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) platform. The servers will also power Dell EMC's new Ready Node portfolio, designed to transition traditional datacenters into cloud-scale infrastructure.

In addition to storage, Dell EMC said the PowerEdge 14 G will power its new Open Networking switches.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.