Intel and ARM systems in same chassis and managed remotely

January 21, 2013

Last week I was out in the Bay Area attending the Open Compute (OCP) Summit.  The event was packed and full of energy.  My employer Dell was a platinum sponsor and we were showing off  some pretty cool stuff:

At today’s Open Compute Summit in Santa Clara, California, Dell showed off a new generation of X-Gene 64-bit ARM-based servers that the company is developing for data center customers. It also demonstrated new management software based on Open Compute Project standards allowing remote control of both Intel and ARM-based servers. The software and server designs Dell demonstrated would allow Intel and ARM-based systems to run in the same chassis. – Ars Technica

Here is the schematic of the management system (check out the client running the ipmitool :)

OCPremonteManagement

As part of the first day plenary sessions, Dell VP and Senior Fellow Jimmy Pike gave a brief historical overview of computing and management, leading up to the above solution.

The next Open Compute Summit will be in Vegas in the fall.  Look for us there.

Extra credit reading

Pau for now…


MDC in our parking lot, serving up OpenStack & Hadoop

September 11, 2012

Why use valuable internal real estate when you can just set up a Modular Data Center (MDC) in your parking lot?  The point wasn’t lost on the Dell Solution Center team who, with help from our partners Intel, is doing just that here in Round Rock.

The new MDC, which should be online in a few weeks, will host Dell’s OpenStack-Powered Cloud and Apache Hadoop solutions for customers to test drive and build POCs in Dell Solution Centers around the world.

Here’s the MDC being lowered into place yesterday.

Here are some pics I snapped this morning when I went down to get my coffee. (double click on them to see them full sized)

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


The Value of Cloud Computing

January 5, 2012

Before the holidays I posted the first of three videos that Dell and Intel put together around cloud computing.  These videos are part of a larger series around key topics like IT reinvention, the consumerization of IT, social media etc.

This second video features myself, Dell’s VP of Platform marketing Sally Stevens and John Pereira, Intel’s director of data center and hosting.

Some of the ground we cover

  • Cloud as a component of a larger portfolio of compute models
  • Small companies and the power of the cloud (Animoto case study)
  • How much of IT spend goes towards maintenance and how can we lower this
  • Hardware abstraction and the value it brings

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


What is the Cloud?

December 20, 2011

Earlier this year Dell and Intel did a series of videos around key topics like cloud computing, IT reinvention, the consumerization of IT, social media etc.  Within these there was a mini-series that dealt with cloud computing that I participated in.

Here is the first one that features Dell’s CIO Robin Johnson, John Pereira, Intel’s director of data center and hosting, Forrest Norrod who is the VP and GM of Dell’s server platform group and myself.

Some of the topics we hit on:

  • How cloud relates to grid compute
  • How start-ups and smaller companies leverage the cloud and how that may change as they grow
  • The benefit of velocity and near instantaneous deployment that cloud brings
  • The federal government’s “Cloud First” initiative and how that will promote adoption
  • We’ve only just begun

Pau for now…


Intel version of Dell’s third gen Microserver now available

July 19, 2011

Over the past three years Dell’s Data Center Solutions group has been designing custom microservers for a select group of web hosters.  The first generation allowed one of France’s largest hosters, Online.net to enter a new market and gain double digit market share.  The second generation brought additional capabilities to the original design along with greater performance.

A few months ago we announced that we were taking our microserver designs beyond our custom clients and making these systems available to a wider audience.  Last month the AMD-based PowerEdge C5125 microserver became available and yesterday the Intel-based PowerEdge C5220 microserver made its debut.   Both are ultra-dense 3U systems that pack up to twelve individual servers into one enclosure.

To get a great overview of  both the 12 sled and 8 sled versions of the new C5220 system, let product manager Deania Davidson take you on a quick tour:

Target use-cases and environments

  • Hosting applications such as dedicated, virtualized, shared, static content, and cloud hosting
  • Web 2.0 applications such as front-end web servers
  • Power, space, weight and performance constrained data center environments such as co-los and large public organizations such as universities, and government agencies

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now..,


A walk thru Facebook’s HQ on Open Compute day

April 12, 2011

Last Thursday a group of us from Dell attended and participated in the unveiling of Facebook’s Open Compute project.

Much the way open source software shares the code behind the software, the Open Compute project has been created to provide the specifications behind the servers and the data center.    By releasing these specs, Facebook is looking to promote the sharing of data center and server technology best practices across the industry.

Pre-Event

The unassuming entrance to Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters.

The Facebook wall.

Facebook headquarters at 8am. (nice monitors! :)

Words of wisdom on the wall.

The Event

Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg kicks off the Open Compute event.

The panel moderated by Om Malik that closed the event. Left to right: Om, Graham Weston of Rackspace, Frank Frankovsky of Facebook, Michael Locatis of the DOE, Alan Leinwand of Zynga, Forrest Norrod of Dell (with the mic) and Jason Waxman of Intel.

Post-event show & tell: Drew Schulke of Dell's DCS team being interviewed for the nightly news and showing off a Dell DCS server that incorporates elements of Open Compute.

Extra credit reading

  • GigaOM: Bringing Facebook’s Open Compute Project Down to Earth
  • The Register:  Facebook’s open hardware: Does it compute?

Pau for now…


Facebook, OpenCompute and Dell

April 7, 2011

Today at its headquarters in Palo Alto, Facebook and a collection of partners such as Dell, Intel and AMD  — as well as kindred spirits like RackSpace’s founder (the company behind OpenStack) and the CIO of the Department of Energy — are on hand to reveal the details behind Facebook’s first custom-built data center and to announce the Open Compute project.

Efficiency: saving energy and cost

The big message behind Facebook’s new data center, located in Prineville Oregon, is one of efficiency and openness.  The facility will use servers and technology that deliver a 38 percent gain ìn energy efficiency.  To bring the knowledge that the company and its partners have gained in constructing this hyper-efficient hyper-scale data center Facebook is announcing the Open Compute project.

Much the way open source software shares the code behind the software, the Open Compute project has been created to provide the specifications behind the hardware.  As a result, Facebook will be publishing the specs for the technology used in their data center’s servers, power supplies, racks, battery backup systems and building design.  By releasing these specs, Facebook is looking to promote the sharing of data center and server technology best practices across the industry.

How does Dell fit in?

Dell, which has a long relationship with Facebook, has been collaborating on the Open Compute project.  Dell’s Data Center Solutions group has designed and built a data center solution using components from the Open Compute project and the server portion of that solution will be on display today at Facebook’s event.  Additionally Forrest Norrod, Dell’s GM of server platforms will be a member of the panel at the event talking about the two companies’ common goal of designing the next generation of hyper efficient data centers.

A bit of history

Dell first started working with Facebook back in 2008 when they had a “mere” 62 million active users.  At that time the three primary areas of focus in with regards to the Facebook IT infrastructure were:

  1. Decreasing power usage
  2. Creating purpose-built servers to match Facebook’s tiered infrastructure needs
  3. Having tier 1 dedicated engineering resources to meet custom product and service needs

Over the last three-plus years, as Facebook has grown to over 500 million active users, Dell has spefically helped out to address these challenges by:

  • Building custom solutions to meet Facebook’s evolving needs, from custom-designed servers for their web cache, to memcache systems to systems supporting their database tiers.
  • Delivering these unique servers quickly and cost effectively via Dell’s global supply chain.  Our motto is “arrive and live in five”, so within five hours of the racks of servers arriving at the dock doors, they’re live and helping to support Facebook’s 500 million users.
  • Achieving the greatest performance with the highest possible efficiency. Within one year, as the result of Dell’s turnkey rack integration and deployment services, we were able to save Facebook 84,000 pounds of corrugated cardboard and 39,000 pounds of polystyrene during that same year.

Congratulations Facebook! And thank you for focusing on both open sharing and on energy efficiency from the very beginning!

Pau for now…


Intel’s Jason Waxman on Sandy Bridge, Atom and our new Intel-based Microserver

March 24, 2011

World Hosting Days is going on right now outside of Frankfurt and our group is using this event to debut our new PowerEdge C microservers.  These new microservers, which come in both Intel and AMD flavors, are right-sized for dedicated hosting applications and provide extreme density and efficiency.

Yesterday, we got a shout out during AMD’s session and today Jason Waxman of Intel had kind words for our PowerEdge C5220 microserver during his talk.  Jason is Intel’s General Manager, High Density Computing, Data Center Group and this morning he delivered the session, “Driving efficiency, security and simplicity across next generation cloud data centers.”

In the short segment above from Jason’s talk, he spends the first couple of minutes on Intel’s power efficient processors such as the Sandy Bridge Xeon and Atom chips.  At the 2:20 mark he switches gears and talks about our new PowerEdge C5220 and how it has been designed with hosters in mind.

Jason stops by our booth

After he got through speaking, Jason stopped by the Dell booth and did a quick video talking specifically about the PowerEdge C5220 and what he really likes about it.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


A Walk-thru of our new Hyper-scale inspired Microserver

March 22, 2011

Earlier this morning at WorldHostingDays outside of Frankfurt, we announced our new line of PowerEdge C microservers.  While this is our third generation of microservers, its the first that are available beyond the custom designed systems we’ve been building for a small group of hyperscale web hosters.

If you’re not familiar with microservers, their big appeal is that they are right-sized for many dedicated hosting applications and provide extreme density and efficiency, all of which drive up a data center’s revenue per square foot.  As an example, our first generation allowed one of France’s largest hosters, Online.net to efficiently enter a new market and gain double digit market share.

To see exactly what these systems are all about, check out this short walk thru by Product Manager Deania Davidson.  The system that Deania is showing off is the AMD-based PowerEdge C5125 which will be available next month.  Also announced today is the Intel-based PowerEdge C5220 which will be out in May.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


DCS brings its experience to a wider Web Hosting audience — announcing PowerEdge C microservers

March 22, 2011

Over the past three years Dell’s Data Center Solutions group has been designing custom microservers for a select group of web hosters.  The first generation allowed one of France’s largest hosters, Online.net to enter a new market and gain double digit market share.  The second generation brought additional capabilities to the original design along with greater performance.

Today we are announcing that we are taking our microserver designs beyond our custom clients and are making these systems available to a wider audience through our PowerEdge C line of systems.  The PowerEdge C5125 and C5220 are ultra-dense 3U systems that pack up to twelve individual servers into one enclosure.  The C5125, which is AMD based, will be available next month and the Intel-based C5220 will be available in May.

The PowerEdge C5125 with one of the 12 server sleds pulled out.

So what the heck is a “microserver”

Microservers are a new class of systems specifically designed for those use cases where multi-core CPU architecture and extensive virtualization are overkill.  What they provide instead are multiple low-cost dedicated servers, each featuring a single-socket CPU, where one CPU is perfect for running single applications.

The general idea behind these lighter weight systems is that they are right-sized for a particular set of applications such as serving up Web pages, streaming video and certain online gaming services.

DCS’s third generation of microservers

One of the most important attributes of the PowerEdge C5125 and C5220 is their density.  By packing 12 one-socket servers in a 3U form factor these systems deliver four times the density of more conventional 1U servers.  This translates to four times less floor space, cabling and racks all of which means greater revenue per square foot for web hosters and data center operators.

These systems further save on power and cooling by leveraging shared infrastructure.  The server nodes in the chassis share mechanicals, high-efficiency fans and redundant power supplies all of which helps it save up to 75% in cooling costs compared to typical 1U servers.

One of the server sleds from the C5125. This is a four 2.5-inch HDD version, there is also a two 3.5-inch HDD version.

So if power, cooling and revenue per square foot are somethings you are concerned with or you are looking to provide dedicated hosting to your customers of lighter weight applications you just might find the PowerEdge C microserver systems something you want to take a closer look at :).

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Intel, Dell and Microservers

March 17, 2011

Microservers are a class of scaled-out systems that Dell’s Data Center Solutions group has been designing for customers for the last several years.  These ultra-dense systems are made up of up to twelve discrete servers within one enclosure and are perfect for dedicated web hosting and telco customers.

With a little help from our friends

Take a listen to Intel’s director of cloud marketing, Raejeanne Skillern as she talks about how Intel’s been involved in this space and how the two companies have worked together in the microserver space in the past and what we may have up our sleeves.

Some of the ground Raejeanne covers

  • How, over the last few years, Intel has been investigating customer requirements in this space and investing in technology.
  • Working on delivering standards
  • How Dell and Intel have worked together
  • Keep your eyes peeled for something coming in the PowerEdge C space

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


White Paper: A Revolutionary Approach to Cloud Building

February 4, 2011

A while ago, as a follow-up to our white paper “Laying the Groundwork for Private and Public Clouds” Dell and Intel worked with CIO magazine to put together a Tech Dossier that picked up where our previous paper left off.

A Revolutionary Approach to Cloud Building” consists of an upfront white paper and four related articles:

  • Intel Builds a Private Cloud — CIO Magazine
  • Cloud Computing: The Future of Application Architectures — CIO Magazine
  • How to Build a Hybrid Cloud Computing Strategy — Forrester’s James Staten
  • Cloud Computing Shopping List: 4 Key Ingredients — CIO Magazine

You say you want a Revolution

Here are a few paragraphs from the white paper to whet your appetite:

For many enterprises, building a private cloud is simply the next step on an evolutionary path that began with data center consolidation. When a company has established a strong virtualization underpinning and is working with traditional enterprise applications, an evolutionary approach to the private cloud makes perfect sense…

In some instances, however, taking what Dell refers to as a “revolutionary” approach to private clouds will be more efficient and much more appropriate. The revolutionary approach makes use of “new world” applications that are written for and deployed in the cloud. These cloud-native applications are designed from the ground up for greater scalability and use across a multitude of servers…

The revolutionary approach requires a new way of thinking about the cloud, but one that Van Mondfrans says enterprise IT executives should undertake sooner rather than later. “This is where the application paradigm is going,” he says…

You can access the document here (no registration required :).

Pau for now..


Enter the Viking: Light Weight server for Hosting and Web 2.0

September 12, 2010

Over the last few years, we have been working with some of the world’s biggest hyperscale data center operators, folks who are deploying thousands, to tens of thousands of servers at a time. Within this select group, the theme that keeps coming up over and over is uber-efficiency.

The customers that we’ve been working with in areas like Web 2.0 and hosting  require solutions that are not only extremely dense, but also dramatically drive down costs.  When operating at the scale that these organizations do, ultra-efficiency is not a nice to have; it’s one of the most important tools the organization has to drive profitability.

It is with these customers and with their need for ultra-efficiency in mind that we designed the newest edition to our custom light-weight server line-up: Viking, designed to “pillage” inefficiency  :)

Some of the points Ed touches on:

  • Viking can hold eight or 12 server nodes in a 3U chassis
  • Each node is a single socket server with up to 4 hard drives & 16GB of RAM along with two gigabit ethernet ports
  • It supports Intel’s Lynnfield or Clarkdale processors which means its 2-4 core’s per processor
  • The chassis also features an integrated switch and includes shared power and cooling infrastructure
  • The system is cold-aisle serviceable which means everything you need to get to is right in the front.

Related Reading:

Pau for now…


Cloud White Paper now available

April 16, 2010

Our first Cloud white paper is now available and I’m really happy with the way it turned out. Being relatively new to Dell I didn’t know if I would be “compelled” to mention product in it or not but I’m happy to say that the paper focuses solely on the trends behind, and characteristics, of cloud computing . I want to give a big shout out to Intel who helped to fund this and also didn’t insist that we mention their products. :)

You can get “Laying the Groundwork for Private and Public Clouds” here. Note you can sign up for more info if you’d like but can get the paper without registering.

This first paper is a short and basic introduction to cloud computing. We are working on a follow-up that will pick up where this leaves off and dives deeper. Stay tuned.

Pau for now


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