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Dell's next-generation PowerEdge servers target HPC workloads

Powered by AMD's EPYC processor, Dell's latest generation of PowerEdge servers is twice as fast as the previous generation, with enhanced security and sustainability features.

Targeting enterprise workloads containing AI and data analytics, Dell on Thursday rolled out speedier versions of its PowerEdge servers that also feature advancements in sustainability and security.

Powered by AMD's EPYC processors, the latest generation of PowerEdge servers supports up to 50% more processor cores. The servers can also run some data-intensive workloads up to 120% faster than the previous series of PowerEdge servers, according to the company.

Dell adding the latest AMD chip to its server lineup comes as no surprise to analysts. They said the move is necessary to maintain pace with its x86-based server competitors and meet the expectations of corporate users.

"Putting out EPYC-based systems is [Dell] keeping up with what all the larger systems providers are doing," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates LLC. "A few years ago, you would go with AMD because it was the cheaper alternative. But now vendors do so because AMD has a creditable product and their chips are a premium buy."

Jack Gold, principal analyst, J Gold Associates LLCJack Gold

Significantly boosting the performance of the new systems compared with the previous generation of PowerEdge systems should also give Dell added credibility among users looking to deploy more modern workloads.

"These performance improvements should enable customers to implement AI and HPC workloads, and so extract more value from their data and IT investments," said Kuba Stolarski, research vice president at IDC's infrastructure systems, platforms and technologies group. "Continued innovation is important if users are going to have the tools they need to address issues in a world that is growing increasingly data centric."

The new series includes the PowerEdge R7625, a two-socket, 2U system designed to run data-intensive applications such as in-memory data bases; and the PowerEdge R7615, a one-socket, 2U server featuring faster memory bandwidth and reduced latency designed to accelerate AI workloads.

The other two systems include the PowerEdge R6625, a two-socket, 1U system intended for HPC workloads and running multiple virtual desktop instances; and the PowerEdge R6615, a one-socket, 1U server that features a smaller footprint to accommodate small to medium-size shops with space-constrained data centers.

The new systems also feature an enhanced version of Dell's Smart Cooling technology that further reduces CO2 emissions, according to the company. The advances allow greater airflow through the system without slowing overall performance, Dell said.

Customers are getting to the point where they need something more sophisticated than just alternating cold and warm aisles in their data centers.
Kuba StolarskiVice president, infrastructure systems, platforms and technologies, IDC

"Each new generation of processors is becoming more and more power hungry, as companies layer in more resources on top of the chip," Stolarski said. "Customers are getting to the point where they need something more sophisticated than just alternating cold and warm aisles in their data centers."

Security improvements include system lockdown, drift detection and multifactor authentication. The additions let the new systems operate more with end-to-end boot resilience, better ensuring security across an entire data center, according to the company.

Supplementing these security enhancements is the addition of an on-die AMD security processor. The chip works in concert with the EPYC chips, making it possible to deploy technologies such as confidential computing, Dell officials said.

This "security by design" approach by AMD also includes an embedded security subsystem that further protects data and builds on the AMD Infinity Guard security features that offers both physical and virtual security.

Infinity Guard works in concert with Dell's iDRAC offering to automatically record details of the servers' hardware and firmware build at the time of manufacturing, allowing user organizations to verify that servers were not tampered with during their trip from the factory, Dell said.

"Building the added security capabilities directly into the system helps users better keep up with the proliferation of data spreading to environments where security threats are also growing," Stolarski said.

"Their [AMD and Dell's] approach has been to build security directly into the system, starting with the chip and working their way up the stack," he said. "They are focusing hard on security and power management with this announcement because those are areas that can cost customers money."

The model R7625 is available later this month, with the remaining new servers expected to be available in February.

As Editor At Large in TechTarget Editorial's News Group, Ed Scannell is responsible for writing and reporting breaking news, news analysis and features focused on technology issues and trends affecting corporate IT professionals.

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