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Dell targets hyperscale wannabes with new line of bare-bones servers

James Niccolai | Oct. 21, 2015
Dell has released a new family of servers aimed at companies that want some of the cost savings of using custom-built hardware but without having to do as much of the engineering work.

Dell DSS 1500 1510 2500
Dell's DSS 1500, 1510 and 2500 server products, aimed at the 'second tier' of hyperscale customers. Credit: Dell

Dell has released a new family of servers aimed at companies that want some of the cost savings of using custom-built hardware but without having to do as much of the engineering work.

The servers are aimed at what Dell calls the second tier of hyper-scale customers -- those big enough to buy hundreds or even thousands of servers at a time, but who aren't as massive as a Google or a Facebook. That includes smaller Web-scale companies as well as telcos, financial services firms, cloud software companies and others.

The Googles of the world design their own hardware to make it as energy- and space-efficient as possible. That means stripping out management software and redundant components, and building resiliency into their software stack rather than the hardware itself.

Those changes can result in big savings when they're spread across thousands of servers, but most "normal" companies don't have the time or the expertise to design their own hardware. So Dell is offering a middle ground with its new Datacenter Scalable Solutions server line, or DSS.

It announced a few months ago that it was working on the products and launched the first four systems at its Dell World conference on Tuesday.

Dell DSS 7000 
Dell's DSS 7000 server packs up to 720TB of storage in a 4U chassis. Credit: Dell

One of them, the DSS 7000, is for service providers that need a lot of storage capacity in a small space: it packs up to 720TB in a 4U chassis, using 90 3.5-inch disk drives.

The other three boxes are for compute workloads. There's a 2U, two-socket system for big data applications like Hadoop; and two 1U servers for Web serving, financial services applications, dedicated hosting environments and high-performance computing.

Dell DSS specs 
Dell's first DSS branded products. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: Dell

What they have in common is less serviceability and redundancy features than in Dell's standard PowerEdge servers. There's no license upgrade for Dell's iDRAC remote management software, and no "n-1" OS support, meaning only current OS releases are offered. (The servers come with either Linux or Windows.)

"A lot of these companies are hiring tech-savvy people who are using open source software to do the orchestration, monitoring and management of their boxes, so they don't need all the iDRAC features that our PowerEdge boxes have," said Jyeh Gan, Dell's director of product management and strategy for DSS.

 

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