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Dell preps monster PowerEdge server to take on Oracle’s Exadata

Once the king of commodity servers, Dell is building a PowerEdge box that will compete with some of the biggest SMP systems on the market.

Forget rack and stack pizza boxes. Dell plans to release its 12th generation PowerEdge server early next year, which should be able to take on the most demanding database and business analytics workloads, à la Oracle Exadata.

At Dell World 2011 in Austin, Texas, today, CEO Michael Dell said the upcoming 12G PowerEdge will feature huge memory footprints, improved I/O bandwidth, plus “Tier-Zero Storage,” where flash memory is backed in the server from the start.

“You can’t get any closer to the CPU than that or any faster,” Dell said.

The new servers will follow on the heels of Intel’s "Sandy Bridge-EP" Xeon E5 release, a.k.a. “Romley,” and will feature up to a whopping 1,024 processor cores, 40 TB of DRAM and the same amount of flash storage.

In and of themselves, the Xeon E5 chips are expected to have up to eight cores, and are designed for two- or-four socket systems. For the PowerEdge 12G to achieve this core count and memory footprint, Dell will presumably take advantage of the system clustering technologies it acquired from RNA Networks in June to link multiple systems into a single system image. Technologies like RNA’s are often used in high performance computing (HPC) environments to create ersatz scale-up symmetric multi-processing (SMP) systems from smaller commodity servers.

Compellent, Force10 added to vStart bundles
In other Dell news, the company will ship new versions of its vStart server virtualization bundles with Dell Compellent storage and Dell Force10 networking starting in 2012.

Michael Dell described vStart as “a cloud in a rack” that lets you drop in preconfigured racks and load up hundreds or thousands of virtual machines right away.

The company also said it has certified its Dell Advanced Infrastructure Manager (AIM) software to work with Microsoft System Center Orchestrator and BMC Atrium Orchestrator. Previously, AIM only worked with VMware ESX and VMware vCenter Server. Also, a new version of Dell VIS Creator allows users to provision extra compute resource from public cloud facilities.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Alex Barrett, Executive Editor at, or follow @aebarrett on twitter.

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