Dell hopes to speed up virtualization with four-socket blade

Dell's new PowerEdge M915 is a 48-core blade server

Dell on Monday announced a four-socket blade server with up to 48 processor cores for deployment in virtualized environments.

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The PowerEdge M915 blade will run on Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron 6100 processors, which include up to 12 cores, said Mike Roberts, senior product manager at Dell. The high number of cores helps expand the number of virtual machines available, and the blade is also capable of running high-end applications such as databases.

The server includes fast throughput capabilities to speed up the server performance in virtualized environments, Roberts said. The server comes with four 10-gigabit Ethernet ports, and adapter cards can be added for additional networking ports. Aggregating six 10-gigabit Ethernet ports allows for transfer of data at 120 gigabits per second, according to the company.

The company preloads on an internal SD card VMware's ESXi hypervisor, which is part of VMware's vSphere 4.1 virtualization software. The server is also available with Microsoft's Hyper-V and Citrix's XenServer virtualization software.

The blade can include up to 512GB of RAM and 2TB of internal storage. OS options include Windows Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Novell Suse Linux Enterprise Server. The blade will be available worldwide at the end of May starting at $US3,500.

The M915 will be socket-compatible with AMD's upcoming Opteron chips code-named Interlagos, which will include up to 16 cores. AMD is due to start shipping new chips, which are based on a new microarchitecture called Bulldozer, starting in the third quarter. Roberts said Dell is evaluating the new chips, but declined to comment on when it would offer servers based on the new chips.

The M915 blade fits into the M1000e chassis, which can accommodate up to eight blades to total 384 processor cores.

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