Dell has disclosed a few more details of the rapier-thin PowerEdge M420 server we spotted back in February. One of those details is that the server isn't literally rapier-thin. Baseball-bat thin is a better description, as we hope is conveyed in the photo at the bottom of this story. We took that snap at the new Dell Solutions …
What is the application?
What is the application for "rapier thin" blade servers? It would have to be some uber CPU intensive application which requires relatively little memory or IO. That doesn't describe many applications in use today.
Re: What is the application?
Rendering halflings, if I read the article correctly. I guess the waste heat is especially efficient at extracting jolly shire fat or something.
re: what is its application
As the article extensively mentioned, render farms are the biggest application.
3D ray tracing (if you can even still call it that given its umpteenth generational jump from the original concept) for movies requires truly vast quantities of number crunching for every frame of the movie.
One thing that piqued my curiosity, is that I couldn't see any fans or PSU, indicating that there is some type of blade-like enclosure this will go into.
It looks like Dell UK temporarily had a spec sheet available
Thanks to Google's cached page:
"Enjoy remarkable computational density with the PowerEdge M420, capable of deploying 32 server nodes in just 10U of rack space. Scaling up to 16 processor cores and 192GB of RAM, each M420 couples processing power and memory capacity with tremendous I/O throughput, with up to four ports of 10Gb ethernet available in an exceptionally compact, individually serviceable form factor."
Yes, another density play
Dell is all about density, but density doesn't help you very much if you don't combine it with memory density and some way of getting all of that IO to the CPUs and back out. As they don't have any chip set tech to expand the IO or the memory in addition to the standard Intel architecture, this concept isn't going to be of much value for the vast majority of workloads, such as big VM farms (memory constrained) or big application server farms (IO constrained). I guess if you have a workload where there is plenty of memory and IO, but you need dense CPU (rendering images is about it), then it might make sense... assuming they have the GPU options. For those applications, you would probably use some big SMP box, not little blades. The whole insistence on blades is confusing. People want blades, but they often don't need them. Their data centers generally have plenty of rack space after they virtualized all of those x86 servers. The one thing their HVAC systems are not set up for is power density (10-20 Kw to a rack), so they reconfigure their data center to push everything into a couple of racks of blades... then they figure out that CPU was never the bottleneck, it was always memory.
How are these poweredge servers going to sit in 10U racks? mounted side by side on shelves?
Looking forward to them powering the next TINTIN at Weta, an awesome technological achievment by Jackson