Dell blades cut deeper to data centers

Von Ed Scannell

Dell Inc. re-energized its enterprise-class blade server strategy on Monday, rolling out a new architecture that supports up to 10 servers in a seven-unit chassis that can fit into a standard-size rack.

The new PowerEdge 1855 servers, which company officials said costs 25 percent cost less than the company"s existing one-unit servers, will be aimed at those corporate IT shops that face space and cooling constraints but that need to run larger Web and applications farms.

The company will bundle with the new hardware its OpenManage software, which helps administrators consolidate chassis and blade management functions down to a single interface. Company executives said that the physical consolidation of associated rack cables with blades can lower the number of cables by as much as 70 percent.

Some of Dell"s users take believe the new systems delivery indicates a new level of commitment to establish blade technology as an integral piece of infrastructure in corporate datacenters.

"With the delivery of these systems, they are sending a message to the marketplace that blades are now ready for prime time," said Bob Kuntz, vice president for LandAmerica Financial Group Inc.

Standard technical pieces of the new system include Intel Corp."s Xeon EM64T chips, PCI Express I/O, 16GB, of DDR2 memory, dual integrated Network Interface Cards (NICs), hit plug drives and redundant power and cooling capabilities.

Available for the systems are storage options including two hot-plug SCSI hard drives for internal storage and Fiber Channel support for connecting to Storage Area Networks (SANs).

The full version of OpenManage 4 that is bundled contains built-in chassis management and support for remote management through the Dell Remote Access Controller/Modular Chassis. The package supports the deployment software from Microsoft Corp. and Altiris Inc., the load balancing software from F5 Networks Inc., and VMware Inc."s virtualization software.

Through the company"s service and support organization, Dell will offer its "clock rapid expert support" on all machines that are in production environments including 7/24 four-hour onsite service or two-hour onsite service with six hours to repair, a company spokesman said.

Available now, the chassis pricing on the PowerEdge1855 starts at US$2,999 with individual blades carrying a base price of $1,699. A blade enclosure that is half-populated costs $11,494, with a fully populated version going for $19,989.

More information about the systems is available at or