Model naming[ edit ] Over the years, many different types of PowerEdge servers have been introduced and there was wide variety of product and family codes used within the PowerEdge name. Itanium servers[ edit ] The Dell Itanium-based servers were introduced before this new naming-convention was introduced and were only available as rack servers. New naming conventions[ edit ] Three digits Since the introduction of the Generation 10 servers in Dell has adopted a standardized method for naming their servers; the name of each server is now represented by a letter followed by 3 digits. The first digit refers to the number of sockets in the system: 1 to 3 for one socket, 4 to 7 for two sockets, and 8 or 9 for four sockets. The middle digit refers to the generation: 0 for Generation 10, 1 for Generation 11, and so on. Whereas the R is a two-socket, 10th generation AMD-based rack-server.

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The market leader in this category is Dell, which currently offers three models of virtualization-optimized systems: the entry-level R server, and the larger R and R servers.

Although these systems make perfectly good generic servers for all standard IT uses, they have specific features that endear them to virtualization users. First, the machines provide extensively scalable RAM.

One of the most pressing constraints to consolidating systems on a virtualization platform is RAM. Get expert insights from our member-only Insider articles. This embedded option makes it easy to configure the servers for virtualization right out of the box without the usual fuss of setting up the hypervisor and the attendant utilities. In addition, in the event of hard-disk failure, the virtualization software is still available separately.

Click for larger view. As I mentioned earlier, Dell combines these features into systems aimed at sites that use virtualization, whereas other enterprise vendors such as Hewlett-Packard put these features to varying extents into various models in their product line and deem them all "virtualization ready. In Dell marketing numerology, servers and workstations ending in "05" use AMD processors, while those ending in "00" use Intel chips.

The AMD processors, curiously, run consistently better on virtualization benchmarks than their Intel counterparts. The difference is small a few percentage points but consistent. Although the exact reasons are unclear, Dell attributes the boost to better performance of the floating-point operations used in most benchmarks. However, I suspect that the superior AMD memory management is a greater contributor.

The R has two Opteron processors, while the R has four. The servers come with up to four Gigabit Ethernet adapters. Network adapters with 10GbE capacity are expected to ship before year end. The R can accept four of these adapters, while the R will handle a maximum of seven. This feature relies on a clever design. The VMware software is installed on a memory card that is socketed in the chassis.

Both server models have this option. They can also install VMware the old-fashioned way, via a DVD, as they are both endowed with optical drives. Options are traditional 3. Benchmarking virtualization hosts Although virtualization has been around for decades, its surge in adoption is a comparatively recent phenomenon.

As such, it does not yet benefit from industry-standard benchmarks. A second suite designed by Intel, vConsolidate, runs database, Java, mail, and Web servers and computes a performance rating by combining their results. The general industry perception is that while the vConsolidate approach is valid, its specific implementation tends to disfavor AMD processors. So, it has quietly been left aside by the industry. It is the most widely quoted benchmark currently in use.

However, it is difficult to run making it hard for in-house analysts to duplicate test results , and it tends to under-represent the importance of RAM. VMmark scores are measured in a peculiar unit called a "tile. The more tiles the system can run, the greater the system capacity. As the tile score computation contains a performance factor, it is fair to view tiles as a measure that represents both performance and scalability.

Examining the posted VMmark scores, we see that the R comes in at 7. When compared with systems from other vendors, notably HP and IBM, these scores put the R at the top of the list in the category of core servers, and the R in the middle of the pack.

This series of tests runs server-side Java the "ssj" in the benchmark name on the SUT system under test and determines a maximum workload. It then tests the power consumed at every 10 percent of the workload, takes an average of these, and publishes a single-number score that is the average number of ssj operations per watt of energy consumed. This number is possibly useful when comparing two servers in the abstract. But in the day-to-day work of an IT site, the number is problematic.

What most sites want to know is how much work the server can do and how many watts it consumes. VMmark provides the former.

The design of SPECpower as a ratio makes it comparable to the secondary information on the grocery shelves that tells you how much an ounce of cereal costs, but says nothing about the cost of the entire box or the quality of its contents. The ssj code is not Java EE-based, and it performs no database access, so the server-side tests are unlikely to duplicate activity at most IT sites.

Moreover, the results assume a usage profile that operates the machine for equal periods at 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent of load -- all the way up to percent. I measured the watts with the Kill a Watt meter , which is an excellent, inexpensive tool for measuring power usage.

The R tips in at watts at rest and watts at full load, suggesting that performance tiles per watt is close to equal for both systems. The consumption numbers are good. The R barely consumes more power than a high-end workstation. Currently, it is the only server vendor to offer these systems. HP, by comparison, states that all its servers are optimized for virtualization, although this claim seems hard to accept in view of conflicting demands that might disfavor virtualization-friendly features.

The two machines are both very good solutions, the R being a journeyman and the R the greater professional. To my view, the R is a little limited and only SMB-class businesses will find its two-processor approach sufficient. Moreover, if a business wants local storage on its virtualization server, the two-disk ceiling will quickly prove limiting. Pricing and performance are good but not exceptional on this model. The R is a far more complete solution.

With double the number of processors, double the RAM capacity, and more than triple the disk space, it is a true enterprise or medium-sized business solution that provides plenty of room to grow. It also has the best posted performance for servers in its category. InfoWorld Scorecard.


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