Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Dell EMC Debuts PowerEdge Servers with AMD EPYC Chips 

Dell EMC PowerEdge R7425

AMD notched another EPYC processor win today with Dell EMC’s introduction of three PowerEdge servers (R6415, R7415, and R7425) based on the EPYC 7000-series processor. AMD’s new chip line has been steadily gaining traction among systems builders and cloud providers.

The new Dell servers are being positioned as, “highly scalable, single- and dual-socket servers designed to address high-performance workloads, including virtualized storage area networks (VSAN), hybrid-cloud applications, dense virtualization, and big data analytics.” The servers, says Dell, provide up to 20 percent lower total cost of ownership for VSAN and 25 percent more HPC performance for modern workloads.

To some extent, Dell’s adoption of AMD’s new chips came later than expected. When AMD introduced EPYC last June, Dell strongly endorsed the move: “The combination of PowerEdge and the AMD EPYC performance and security capabilities will create unique compute solutions for our customers to accelerate workloads and protect their business,” said Ashley Gorakhpurwalla, president, server solutions, Dell, in the AMD press release.

HPE, Supermicro, Penguin, Baidu, and Microsoft Azure, for example, all took the EPYC plunge earlier. EPYC, of course, competes directly with Intel for x86 sockets. AMD is betting on what it believes is a big enough price performance advantage with its new line to win back customers after its absence from the data center processor market. (see HPCwire article, AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17.)

Dell EMC PowerEdge R7425

The new Dell servers are offered in both single- and dual-socket versions with design features ranging from 32 to 64 cores, up to 4TB of memory capacity, and 12 to 24x direct NVMe drives optimized for database and analytics workloads. Dell emphasizes EPYC also supports high bandwidth and GPU/FPGA capabilities for HPC applications.

Stimulating a single-socket market, largely absent in the data center today, is an important AMD goal. The company reports demand has so far been split equally between single- and two-socket designs. “We tend to see the single socket really resonating on let’s call it the more GPU-centric computing where the CPU tends to be more supervisory as opposed to a foundational computing role,” said Scott Aylor, AMD corporate VP and GM of enterprise solutions business. “The one socket has also drawn attention in big data applications where its ability to connects to massive number of drives is a distinguishing attribute, he said.

Two of the new Dell servers are single-socket designs. Here’s a configuration snapshot from Dell:

  • PowerEdge R7425 “enables fast workload performance” on more cores. It has up to 2 enterprise class EPYC processors; memory and IO flexibility with up to 32 DDR4 DIMMs and 128 lanes of PCIe; storage performance with up to 24 NVMe drives; up to 4 terabytes memory capacity for data base analytics; and increased VDI instances with up to 64 cores.
  • PowerEdge R7415 is intended to “scale workloads while managing costs,” says Dell. “The R7415 delivers software defined storage or business analytics in a single processor design.” Features include: memory and IO flexibility with up to 16 DDR4 DIMMs and 128 lanes of PCIe; storage performance with up to 24 NVMe drives; and up to 2 terabytes memory capacity for in-line memory and analytics.
  • PowerEdge R6415 “balances resources to support demanding workloads…the R6415 single processor server tightly matches workload needs without adding underutilized resources,” according to Dell. Features include: storage performance with up to 10 NVMe drives; up to 2 terabytes of memory and 128 PCIe lanes. Dell says the R6415 “simplifies and speeds deployments with VMware vSAN and ScaleIO Ready Nodes.”

“With AMD’s EPYC processor integrated into the new Dell EMC PowerEdge platforms, we can deliver the scalability and lower total cost of ownership needed to meet the demands of new emerging workloads,” said Ravi Pendekanti, SVP, product management and marketing, Server and Infrastructure Systems, Dell EMC. “Customers are constantly looking for ways to drive growth and leverage new models of computing. AMD’s single-socket platform is a great example of Dell PowerEdge servers moving the industry forward to solve real customer problems.”

The new servers are available now. As listed on Dell’s website, the R6415 starts at $2,179.00, the R7415 at $2,349.00, and the R7425 at $3,819.00.

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