The difference between having to invest in a four-socket versus eight-socket server to run an enterprise IT application can be substantial. For that reason, eight-socket x86 servers have generally been relegated to the high end of the market, which is a place in which Dell is trying to make a niche.
Taking advantage of the latest generation of Intel E7 multicore processors, Dell today unveiled the PowerEdge R920, a four-socket x86 server that is 71 percent faster at running SAP applications than the company’s previous generation of Dell four-socket servers.
Dell doesn’t offer 8-way servers, but Brian Payne, executive director of server solutions at Dell, says that when you take into account the total cost of four-socket servers versus eight-way servers, the PowerEdge R920 winds up being about 50 percent less costly to deploy. The reason for that, says Payne, not only includes the cost of acquiring the server, but also the fact that enterprise application licenses tend to be much less expensive on four-socket servers than eight-socket servers.
The PowerEdge server gives applications access to up to 60 processing cores, 6TB of memory and a new H730P PowerEdge RAID controller (PERC) that doubles the previous cache size and delivers up to 100 percent more IOPS performance. Rather than just loading more cores into an existing system in the form of E7 processors, Payne says Dell has re-architected the PowerEdge R920 to create a system that balances memory, storage and the additional capacity provided by the Intel E7 processors.
At a time when IT organizations are trying to strike a balance between being able to scale out servers and the overall density of the data center environment, interest in four-socket servers is definitely higher. That doesn’t mean they are going replace two-socket servers as the workhorse of the data center, but it does mean that more application workloads will be moving in that direction.