Dell’s new “ultra-light” server offers extreme density and low power draw

Dell’s Data Center Solutions division introduced a new “ultra-light” server […]

May 20, 2009

Dell’s Data Center Solutions division introduced a new “ultra-light” server designed for hyper-scale data center environments and I/O intensive applications such as Web hosting. The XS11-VX8 server is extremely dense —12 servers in one 2U chassis—enabling scale-out data center operators to pack more computing power in less data center space. The XS11-VX8 also includes the VIA Nano processor to address the power and cooling challenges associated with dense server environments.

Advancements in architecture and the introduction of multi-core processors have yielded rapid gains in system performance of mainstream servers. However, the performance requirements of many applications and usage models haven’t kept pace. This has resulted in the under-utilisation of system resources and the increasing use of virtualization to harness the horsepower available in present-day servers.

A gap has developed for a server product sized and balanced for environments that require a combination of high density, low power and “light-sized” processing performance delivered in a sub-$400 package. The customers and uses for these servers include Web hosting, Web farms, light-load infrastructure and test and development. For these customers, with single-socket workloads, where virtualization isn’t always optimal and TCO is critical, a general purpose server is often too powerful and costly to operate. Dell developed the XS11-VX8 to meet the unique product needs and TCO goals of this set of customers.

The XS11-VX8 offers:
o TCO: Up to 34% percent lower TCO compared to white box client systems
o Density: 12 servers in one 2U
o Power Consumption: The VIA Nano Processor for a system that consumes only 15 watts at OS idle, and 20-29 watts at full capacity and workload, the lowest power draw in the industry
o Management: Dedicated baseboard management controller (BMC) on each server for critical events monitoring and management via IPMI 2.0 functionality
o Enterprise Functionality: Support for 64-bit OS and virtualization ready
o Availability and Serviceability: N+1 power optional and a blade-like, hot plug server form factor

Since its inception in 2007, Dell’s Data Center Solutions division has developed more than 24 different hardware platforms for some of the largest computing environments in the world. DCS works with these customers, at an engineer-to-engineer level, to develop a customised solution that is tuned to their physical facility, operating processes and application workload.

VIA Technology Comes to Enterprise Computing

Generational leaps in x86 processor technology have created inefficiencies for enterprise server customers with single-socket workloads. These customers do not need the full processing power of next-generation x86 chips and cannot manage the associated power consumption.

The VIA Nano processor delivers the lowest power draw in the industry, supports a full 64-bit instruction set and supports hardware virtualization (VMX).

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