Server Snapshots: Dell PowerEdge M Series Blades

Will four times be the charm for Dell's blades? Dell has entered the blade arena, yet again. It's new M Series line may be small, but it offers both AMD- and Intel-based blades and an array of configuration options

In the new Dell naming convention system, T is for tower and R is for rack. So you would expect B would mean blade. Not so.

"There's much about the Dell M Series launch that's practical — from simple but straightforward management to narrowly focusing on the volume sweet-spot of dual-socket server blades," said Haff.

While the M Series may not beat blades from HP (Palo Alto, Calif.) or IBM (Armonk, N.Y.) in terms of management bells and whistles, Dell claims it has a superior offering in an area both of its rivals have been pushing heavily — power and cooling.

"Built on Dell's Energy Smart technologies, the PowerEdge M-Series enables businesses to save on power and cooling costs while increasing server capacity," said Acosta. "The PowerEdge M-Series consumes up to 19 percent less power and achieves up to 25 percent better performance per watt than the HP BladeSystem c-Class."

Dell's Energy Smart initiative is found on engineering its products for energy efficiency and vendor partnerships. As well as chip vendors AMD and Intel, this includes relationships with power cooling specialists like Liebert, APC and Rittal.

Another area where Dell has sought to gain an edge is scalability. According to Acosta, the PowerEdge M-Series is the only blade solution providing snap-in scalability all the way down to the switch interconnects. For those wanting to use Fibre Channel, for example, the enclosure comes with a Brocade 4 Gbps switch and a lower-cost Brocade port aggregator. This is courtesy of Dell FlexIO.

FlexIO technology seeks to eliminate the need for "rip-and-replace" upgrades. The enclosure design enables IT organizations to scale its switches on-demand via a series of different I/O slots and switch options that facilitate the use of a variety of I/O arrangements.

"With FlexIO switch technology, customers can efficiently design a networked blade environment that best meets their infrastructure requirements," said Acosta. "They can easily and cost effectively add or modify network stacking and uplink capabilities as technology or business needs change."

Pricing for the M1000e blade enclosure starts at $5,999, while each blade (the M600 and M650) is priced starting at $1,849. According to Acosta, target markets are data centers and remote offices requiring maximum density, redundancy, energy efficiency and high performance.

"This is Dell's best effort yet in blades," said Haff "It's arguably the first time that we've seen the right alignment between Dell's mainstream comfort zone and what's needed to bring a competitive blade offering to market."

The Dell M Series Close Up

Name PowerEdge M600 PowerEdge M605 The PowerEdge Mseries Chassis
The PowerEdge Mseries Chassis
Source: Dell
Vendor Dell Dell
Platform x86 x86
Dimensions 1U 1U
Processor Details Up to 2 dual-core or quad-core Intel Xeon 5000 processors Up to 2 quad-core AMD Opteron 2300 processors or dual-core AMD Opteron 2000 processors
Hard Drives Up to 300 GB (2x 146 GB hot-plug SAS drives) Up to 300 GB (2 x 146 GB hot-plug SAS drives)
Operating Systems Windows and Linux Windows and Linux
Configuration Options Starting at $1,249 for an Intel quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and a 73GB SAS drive
Priced at $7,045 for 2 Intel quad-core processors, 32 GB RAM and 2x146GB SAS drives
Starting at $1,149, 1 AMD quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and a 73GB SAS drive
Priced at $5,156, 2 AMD quad-core processors, 32GB RAM and 2x146GB SAS drives
Availability Now Available Now Available
Warranty 3 years 3 years

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