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Dell EMC PowerEdge Servers Gets Ice Lake, Milan Updates

by Adam Armstrong
Dell EMC PowerEdge Updates

Today Dell Technologies announced a major refresh of its popular Dell EMC PowerEdge server portfolio with 17 new models. This refresh comes on the heels of the AMD EPYC 7003 processor announcement earlier this week and before the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (Ice Lake) coming soon. The refresh will contain Dell EMC PowerEdge C6525, R7525, R6525, R7515, and R6515 servers with AMD EPYC 7003 CPUs and Dell EMC PowerEdge C6520, MX750c, R750 (performance review here), R750xa, R650 servers with 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs.

Today Dell Technologies announced a major refresh of its popular Dell EMC PowerEdge server portfolio with 17 new models. This refresh comes on the heels of the AMD EPYC 7003 processor announcement earlier this week and before the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (Ice Lake) coming soon. The refresh will contain Dell EMC PowerEdge C6525, R7525, R6525, R7515, and R6515 servers with AMD EPYC 7003 CPUs and Dell EMC PowerEdge C6520, MX750c, R750 (performance review here), R750xa, R650 servers with 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs.

PowerEdge 7003

According to IDC, Dell EMC PowerEdge is the world’s best-selling server portfolio. We certainly like them here at StorageReview. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t prefer PowerEdge we just happen to see more and would be tickled pink to take a look at any of the others out there. PowerEdge makes up the core of several clouds and edge locations and the backbone of a lot of what Dell Technologies does. With new processors out (or coming out next month) and 1,100 new patents, Dell is reimagining their line with 17 new PowerEdge servers that are said to deliver the highest performance to date.

New/Updated Dell PowerEdge Servers

Dell EMC PowerEdge C6525 Dell EMC PowerEdge R7525 Dell EMC PowerEdge R6525
Dell EMC PowerEdge R7515 Dell EMC PowerEdge R6515 Dell EMC PowerEdge XE8545
Dell EMC PowerEdge C6520 Dell EMC PowerEdge MX750c Dell EMC PowerEdge R750
Dell EMC PowerEdge R750xa Dell EMC PowerEdge R650 Dell EMC PowerEdge R750xs
Dell EMC PowerEdge R650xs Dell EMC PowerEdge R550 Dell EMC PowerEdge R450
Dell EMC PowerEdge XR11 Dell EMC PowerEdge XR12

This announcement may seem a bit odd as the company announced one of these new servers early this week, the Dell EMC PowerEdge XE8545. The XE8545 was aimed at AI workloads as it came with two of the newly announced AMD EPYC 7003 CPUs and four NVIDIA A100 GPUs. The XE8545 is built around the NVIDIA HGX A100 4 GPU board (also known as Redstone). With new CPUs, vendors tend to refresh some of their servers to reflect that. Dell seemed a bit subdued with just one earlier in the week, but now is going above and beyond, refreshing the entire portfolio regardless of the processors out. Though it should be noted that Dell is still playing it close to the chest and keeping the details to themselves.

Since AMD is out, let’s look at those first. Dell is releasing five new servers around this new processor today (six counting the XE8545). At least they are being referred to as new, with the AMD EPYC 7003 processors, they can be dropped into existing servers that supported 7002. First up is Dell EMC PowerEdge C6525, which is an existing server that is 2U with four nodes, so I’m going to assume that it has been updated with the AMD EPYC 7003 versus the 7002 version that is already out. As with the existing version, the new C6525 is a compute-dense server for use cases like HPC.

Dell EMC PowerEdge C6525

Form factor 2U
CPU Up to 2 x AMD EPYC 7003
Memory Up to 16 x DDR4
RDIMM 2TB Max
LRDIMM 2TB Max
Bandwidth up to 3200 MT/S
Drive Bays
  • 2.5” Direct Backplane configuration with up to 6 SAS/SATA drives per node, up to 24 per chassis
  • 2.5” NVMe Backplane configuration with up to 2 NVMe drives and 4 SAS/SATA drives per node. Up to 24 drives total per chassis
  • 3.5” Direct Backplane configuration with up to 3 SAS/SATA drives per node, up to 12 per chassis Internal: uSD card | M.2 SATA BOSS 1.0
GPU Options 1 x Single-Wide GPU
PCIe 2x PCIe x16 Gen4 Risers
1x OCP 3.0 x16 Gen4
1x PCIe x8 Gen3 M.2 Riser

The Dell EMC PowerEdge R7525 is another dual-socket rackmount server in a 2U form factor. This server aims for performance and flexibility and supports use cases such as SDS, data analytics, and VDI. Being AMD-based, the server supports PCIe Gen4, which includes storage and GPUs.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R7525

Form factor 2U
CPU 2 x AMD EPYC 7003
Memory Up to 32 x DDR4
RDIMM 2TB Max
LRDIMM 4TB Max
Bandwidth up to 3200 MT/S
Drive Bays Front Bays:

Up to 24 x 2.5” with up to 24 NVMe, SAS/SATA (SSD/HDD) Up to 12 x 3.5” SAS/SATA (HDD)

Rear Bays:

Up to 2 x 2.5” SAS/SATA (HDD/SSD)

GPU Options Up to 3 x Double-Wide GPU
PCIe Up to 8 x PCIe Gen4 slots

Another updated second-generation AMD EPYC server is the Dell EMC PowerEdge R6525. This server is a 1U rack server but it comes with two sockets. The use cases for the R6525 are virtualization, HPC, and data analytics.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R6525

Form factor 1U
CPU 2 x AMD EPYC 7003
Memory Up to 32 x DDR4
RDIMM 2TB Max
LRDIMM 4TB Max
Bandwidth up to 3200 MT/S
Drive Bays Front Bays

  • Up to 4 x 3.5” hot plug SAS/SATA (HOD)
  • Up to 8 x 2.5” hot plug SAS/SATA (HOD)
  • Up to 12 x 2.5” (10 Front+ 2 Rear) hot plug SAS/SATA/NVMe Optional: BOSS (2 x M.2)
GPU Options Up to 3 x Single-Wide GPU
PCIe 3 x Gen4 slots (x16) at 16GT/s, 2EMS slots at 25GT/s

For single-socket servers, there is the Dell EMC PowerEdge R7515. The R7515 is supposed to a balance of performance and TCO. The server is 2U and brings more room for storage and GPUs.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R7515

Form factor 2U
CPU 1 x AMD EPYC 7003
Memory Up to 16 x DDR4
RDIMM 1TB Max
LRDIMM 2TB Max
Bandwidth up to 3200 MT/S
Drive Bays Front Bays

  • Up to 8 x3.5” Hot Plug SATA/SAS HDDs
  • Up to 12x 3.5” hot-plug SAS/SATA HDDs
  • Up to 24x 2.5” Hot Plug SATA/SAS/NVMe

Rear Bays

  • Up to 2x 3.5” hot-plug SAS/SATA HDDs
GPU Options Up to 4 Single-Wide GPU(T4)
Up to 1 Full-Height FPGA
PCIe Up to 4:

  • 2 x Gen3 slots (1 x8; 1 x16)
  • 2 x Gen4 slots (2 x16)

The last old, new server is the Dell EMC PowerEdge R6515. This is the other single-socket server, this time in a 1U form factor. Again, there is a balance of performance and TCO here only in a denser form factor. The R6515 is aimed at virtualization, HCI, and NFV.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R6515

Form factor 1U
CPU 1 x AMD EPYC 7003
Memory Up to 16 x DDR4
RDIMM 1TB Max
LRDIMM 2TB Max
Bandwidth up to 3200 MT/S
Drive Bays Front Bays

  • Up to 4x 3.5” Hot Plug SAS/SATA HDD
  • Up to 10x 2.5” Hot Plug SAS/SATA/NVMe
  • Up to 8x 2.5” Hot plug SAS/SATA
GPU Options Up 2 Single-Wide GPU
PCIe Up to 2:

  • 1 x Gen3 slot (1 x16)
  • 1 x Gen4 slot (1 x16)

Moving on to some of the soon-to-be fully released stuff, we’ve talked about AI and accelerator optimized PowerEdge XE8545, Dell is also releasing the Dell EMC PowerEdge R750xa. This server leverages the third-gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and up to either four double-wide GPUs and six single-wide GPUs. The server also takes advantage of the recently-announced NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite for VMware vSphere 7 Update 2.

While overall details are sparse on the new Intel-based servers, at least for three more weeks, Dell did tease out the Dell EMC PowerEdge R750 (that we go into more detail here). Built around delivering more compute power, Dell states it can deliver 43% more performance in solving massively parallel linear equations, supporting most computational-heavy workloads.

For edge deployments, Dell announced the Dell EMC PowerEdge XR11 and XR12. These two servers are “ruggedized,” a nifty way of saying that they can survive in environments outside of the data center. The two servers are said to bring the performance and security of servers in the data center but have a hardened chassis and a more compact form factor.

PowerEdge 7003 2

All the new servers come with security features such as Silicon Root of Trust. Dell states the portfolio is built with cyber-resilient architecture and is secure throughout their lifecycle, from manufacturing, deployment, and beyond. Security through manufacturing starts with Dell Technologies Secured Component Verification, an offering for servers and an extension to Dell’s Secure Supply Chain assurance process. Users can also better manage boot security through PowerEdge UEFI Secure Boot Customization.

Other overarching messages on the latest refresh of PowerEdge are their unique chassis design for more efficient cooling. This works at both saving power and keeping all the components running correctly. According to Dell, coupled with multi-vector cooling, PowerEdge automatically directs airflow to the hottest part of the server for optimized cooling. Some of the servers are available with liquid cooling as well and leak-sensing technology.

Availability

  • Dell EMC PowerEdge C6525, R7525, R6525, R7515, and R6515 servers with 3rd Generation AMD EPYC processors are available globally now.
  • Dell EMC PowerEdge XE8545 servers with 3rd Generation AMD EPYC processors and NVIDIA A100 GPUs have planned global availability on March 29.
  • Dell EMC PowerEdge C6520, MX750c, R750, R750xa, R650 servers with 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors have planned global availability in May 2021.
  • Dell EMC PowerEdge R750xs, R650xs, R550, R450, and the ruggedized PowerEdge XR11 and XR12 have planned availability in the second quarter of 2021.
  • The new servers are available with Flex On Demand as well.

Dell EMC PowerEdge

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