Dell Pushes Hyperscale Boundaries with New PowerEdge
With today's introduction of the PowerEdge C6320, Dell continues its drive to propel high performance computing outside its traditional comfort zone of engineering or research and development and into general business enterprise applications.
"We recognize that beyond the hyperscale space there's an opportunity to offer this type of product," Brian Payne, executive director of product management and product strategy for Dell Server Solutions, told Enterprise Technology. "We took some of our mainstream products out of the datacenter solution and created the PowerEdge C6320."
The C6320 – which will ship in July – is packaged in a compact, 2U chassis designed for HPC and hyper-converged solutions and appliances, and runs on Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors with up to 18 cores per socket (144 cores per 2U chassis). The latest PowerEdge family member has up to 512GB of DDR4 memory and up to 72TB of flexible local storage.
"It's a versatile platform. The C6320 is an appropriate piece of hardware for the enterprise space," said Rick Wagner, HPC systems manager at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, in an interview. "While they may not have 27 racks dedicated to data simulation and analysis and big data, there are a growing number of enterprises using high-performance computing for business processes."
The server was designed for high-end enterprise applications such as big data, and research and development, said Payne. "We're seeing hyperconverged appliances go into mainstream IT. Mainstream IT is very different from the way they operate in web tech and hyperconverged [organizations]," he said.
To address enterprise IT department needs, the C6320 is equipped with iDRAC8 with Lifecycle Controller. The integrated Dell Remote Access Controller allows IT staff to automate multiple routine management chores, reducing the time and eliminating processes required to deploy, monitor, and update servers. No operating system or hypervisor is required since it's embedded.
For more demanding workloads, the C6320 can be paired up with the PowerEdge C4130, a GPU dense and flexible rack serve designed to handle big data and other large loads.
While PowerEdge C6320 is appropriate for compute-hungry enterprise applications, it stays true to its HPC roots, as evidenced by one early customer. The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California used 1,944 nodes or 46,656 cores in 27 racks of PowerEdge C6320 compute nodes to create Comet, its new petascale supercomputer.
"It's a big platform, but it's designed to support as many people as possible to get their science done as quickly as possible," said Wagner. "Comet has the capacity to run up to 50,000 jobs at once if they are utilizing only a single core."
Before preparing a proposal for the National Science Foundation's review, SDSC spoke to Intel, its storage partner, and several server vendors before opting to work with Dell, Wagner said.
"When we looked at features, price competitiveness, and scale, Dell came out well ahead. Dell is a well respect vendor. They've been in the enterprise for a long time," he said. "They delivered a very good cost so we could provide a competitive bid to NSF."
As the Dell Engineered Solutions portfolio evolves, the PowerEdge C6320 will make it the platform for appliances such as the Dell Engineered Solutions for VMware EVO:Rail, available next month; the Dell XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances, slated to ship with the C6320 in the fourth quarter, and future Dell HPC offerings.