Rack or Tower? How to select your next small business server

What server should you buy for your small business? Find out what two things you must consider when buying a server for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Should you buy a rack or tower server? The answer may not be as simple as it used to be. Fifteen years ago, it was a foregone conclusion that small businesses bought towers and large enterprises bought rack servers. That’s how we built them. That’s how you bought them. But it’s not that clear now. Our latest tower servers can do things only rack servers used to be … READ MORE


ECS: One node will not power on in an ECS Gen1 or Gen2 system.

Article Number: 504631 Article Version: 3 Article Type: Break Fix

ECS Appliance,ECS Appliance Hardware,Elastic Cloud Storage

This KB article addresses when only one node will not power-on in an ECS Gen1 or Gen2 system.

One node will not power on in an ECS Gen1 or Gen2 system.

Bad blade server or bad chassis.


For ECS Gen1 and Gen2 systems, there are redundant Power Supply Units (PSUs) which supply power to a chassis and up to 4 blade servers in the chassis.

Based on this, if 1 node out of 4 will not power on, the issue can’t be the PSUs because the other nodes in the same chassis are powered on.

The issue has to be the blade server or the chassis itself.

Using an example where node 4 will not power on, one can swap the blade server from the node 3 position to the node 4 position and vice versa.

If the issue stays with the slot where node 4 resides, the issue is the chassis. If the issue follows the blade server, then the blade server is at issue.

Note: This sort of troubleshooting can only be done at install time before the OS and ECS software is loaded on the system.


The Journey to PowerEdge MX

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I love new product launches that showcase the talent, drive and innovation from the Dell EMC server team. The new PowerEdge MX has been a particularly fascinating journey, and the story of how we arrived at the MX is quite interesting. Dell EMC has been shipping the PowerEdge M1000e for more than eight years. The PowerEdge M1000e, for those unaware, is a traditional blade-style modular infrastructure solution. The fact that it lived thru nine CPU upgrades is a testament to the foresight of the Dell EMC PowerEdge team. But, alas, the technologies that brought the M1000e … READ MORE


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Start Exploring and Driving the 4-Socket Opportunity

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High-performance PowerEdge R940 server can help drive business for you and your customers

In today’s fast-changing business world, constantly increasing application and end-user demands drive many organizations to seek server performance and efficiency benefits that were typically previously only achievable with hyperscale solutions. But now the new Dell EMC PowerEdge server portfolio can deliver almost everything that IT managers are looking for – and more.

The latest PowerEdge servers are built from the ground up to deliver high performance plus unmatched systems management with versatile onboard storage configurations, all of which is optimized for key enterprise applications.

Perfect for powering mission-critical applications

The Dell EMC PowerEdge R940, our highest performing, 4-socket server, is designed to power mission-critical applications and make real-time decisions, enabling organizations to drive IT transformation.

The new R940 rack server was specifically developed to provide your customers with the perfect server solution for extremely demanding, mission-critical workloads – like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), dense virtualization analytics and very large in-memory databases.

Significant performance benefits

The Dell EMC PowerEdge R940 will be an attractive proposition for customers ranging from SMBs to large enterprises and public sector organizations. IT department heads and managers running complicated IT environments with multiple servers or storage products should be primary targets for your server refresh conversations – especially around the benefits of 4-socket solutions.

The PowerEdge R940 is available with up to 24 2.5” drives and as many as 12 NVME drives – in just 3U. Inside, it’s powered by up to 4 next-generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. With a scalable business architecture, intelligent automation and integrated security built-in as standard, this affordable but incredibly high-performing server delivers significant customer benefits:

  • 50 percent more NVMe than previous R930 server;
  • Up to 48 DIMMs, totalling 6TBs of memory with up to 12 NVDIMMs;
  • Highly optimized design, reducing footprint from 4U to 3U;
  • Up to 28 cores per processor (27 percent increase) and increased memory bandwidth (50 percent increase).*

Encourage customers to explore 4-socket opportunities

With the Dell EMC PowerEdge R940 server, increased performance for mission-critical applications is easily achieved without rip-and-replace system upgrades. So be sure to reach out to any customers with ageing servers that are still in active service but are now out of warranty and to lapsed customers with very old servers. Customers that require UNIX to Linux migrations will be especially interested in the benefits of 4-socket servers.

Stepping up to a 4-socket solution also enables them to take advantage of dense virtualization, allowing the spin-up of multiple VMs, either for production or for development, and making it easier to maximize the utilization of the single-server environment.  Scaling up can be accomplished easily by adding RAM and/or processors. The more VMs you can get per U of rack space, the larger the potential overall savings.

Start driving the conversation

To help you engage customers and promote the benefits of 4-socket servers, and the PowerEdge R940 in particular, we’ve created an introductory email for you to send out. You can also access a whole range of materials – including Battlecards, product spec sheets, product videos and technical guides – to help you steer the conversation and drive demand.

Send the PowerEdge R940 Rack Server email to your customers

(Translated email files are available in the Partner Playbook)

* Based on Dell internal analysis, comparing the Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor to Intel® Xeon® E5 v4 processor, March 2017


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All Aboard the Scripting Train: Moving from DTK to RACADM

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For those PowerEdge server customers who use scripts to manage servers, you’re probably familiar with a longtime Dell EMC tool: the Dell Deployment Toolkit (DTK). What you may not know is that DTK’s days are numbered, and there’s a newer command-line tool that will do the job for many years to come: the Remote Access Controller Admin (RACADM) utility.

train crossing a bridge between mountains

As part of our commitment to intelligent automation, we want to make sure our customers can manage servers in the manner that best suits their IT environment, and for many customers, using scripts is their method of choice. RACADM provides a reliable means to do just that. So, to support this transition, we have prepared two new documents for you.

What was DTK for?

But first, a little background. The DTK is a set of utilities, scripts, and configuration files used to configure PowerEdge servers in both Windows and Linux environments. DTK will be sustained for current (that’s 14th generation PowerEdge servers like the R740, as an example) and earlier supported platforms until those platforms pass their end of support life (EOSL) threshold. Dell EMC will not offer support for DTK on future platforms.

We strongly recommend that if you are using DTK now, that you start learning about using the RADADM utility.

What can RACADM do?

RACADM is a command line tool that allows for remote or local management of Dell EMC servers via the integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) that is embedded in every PowerEdge server. RACADM provides functionality similar to that provided by the iDRAC’s web interface. Another plus for RACADM users is that the Dell Chassis Management Controller (CMC), the embedded management device for blade server chassis, can also be managed remotely. RACADM commands can be run remotely from a management station and/or locally on the managed system. RACADM commands allow operations such as viewing system information, performing power operations, firmware updates, and configuring settings. Since RACADM is run from a command line interface (CLI), system administrators can create scripts that control and update Dell multiple systems at the same time.

To support your move to RACADM, Dell EMC engineers have written two new documents for existing DTK users to help guide them to and through a smooth transition to RACADM. The first is a guide that can be used as a reference manual for using DTK with supported PowerEdge servers and provides transition guidelines for RACADM deployment and configuration in Windows and Linux environments. The second is intended to be used as a reference manual to map RAIDCFG (a DTK utility used for storage configuration) operations into equivalent RACADM command syntax for PowerEdge Raid Controllers (PERC). These RAIDCFG operations are supported in the PowerEdge server platforms through the current 14th generation systems.

I hope you find this interesting and useful. With RACADM, you’ll be managing your PowerEdge servers just the way you want to. For more information, please take a look at these additional resources:

To stay in the loop on future updates and product releases, join the conversation on Twitter at @DellEMCServers.


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Re: Ask The Expert: VxBlock System 1000, #1 in converged, now all in one system

Hi Colbywan,

Her are some high level updates with a slightly different spin from the description at the top of the “Ask the Expert” thread:

1) We wanted to simplify the Block product line which had become very complex with 3 different products in VxBlock 350, 540 and 740 PLUS expansion via a range of Compute Technology Extensions (B- and C- series) and Storage Technology Extensions (VMAX, XtremIO, Unity, Isilon) and management (AMP-2S and HA-AMP). This made for a highly scalable but complex array of options to create a flexible converged infrastructure solution. The VxBlock 1000 now offers a SINGLE product that enables a company to order and scale their CI from just a few compute nodes in a single domain and a single array at the start … to a massive multi-domain system with hundreds of mixed node types and numerous array types in a single product descriptor with a single RCM.

2) We can grow our new AMP-VX from managing a single VxBlock 1000 to managing multiple VxBlock 1000s and later this year it will manage a heterogeneous mixture of Dell EMC converged systems!

3) New features exclusive to the VxBlock 1000:

  • The compute environment can be comprised of 100% UCS blades, 100% UCS rack mount, or a mixture. 100% rack mount is new!
  • Isilon is can be a fully integrated storage option which connects directly into the system fabric saving added switches and costs.
  • AMP-VX now has embedded data protection so that your management infrastructure is inherently protected.
  • We offer a 40Gb compute fabric (UCS Gen 3) for high-bandwidth environments
  • The system fabric now offers a choice of 40/100Gb and 10/25/40/100Gb switches to support a wide array of use cases and scale points

4) Finally the new RCM Portal is our first step in simplifying the way RCMs are reviewed and consumed by our customers for their converged systems in production. The portal provides a variety of ways to look at RCMs by system (VxBlock 1000, etc.), compare eligible RCMs, setup automated notifications when an RCM train changes, etc. The big improvement here is an RCM view by the whole solution deployed (VxBlock System 1000 plus AMP-VX plus Data Protection), rather than getting multiple individual PDFs in the past (for example one for VxBlock System 740 plus one for X2 STE plus one for UCS-C CTE plus one for AMP2S).

Hopefully this provides more insight into the new enhancements in the VxBlock System 1000.


Dell EMC VxBlock 1000 Re-Defines IT Agility for the Enterprise

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When it comes to IT, flexibility and agility are not just states of mind. If IT leaders are going to succeed in the digital era those attributes need to be built into modern IT platforms from the ground up.

With that simple but powerful idea in mind we at Dell EMC are proud to unveil our latest Dell EMC VxBlock System offering. The Dell EMC VxBlock System 1000 is the most extensible Converged Infrastructure (CI) platform ever built. Rather than just building a CI platform that makes it simpler to manage compute and storage within the same stack, we made it possible for IT organizations to also mix and match both compute and storage components anyway they see fit.

IT organizations can now mix and match Cisco UCS C-Series rack servers and Cisco UCS B-Series blade servers in the same platform depending on their diverse applications’ processing and scalability requirements. Each platform can be optimized for different classes of application workloads by relying on a proven architecture to create and share pools of IT infrastructure resources. When it comes to storage, Dell EMC now uniquely allows IT organizations to choose four types of storage arrays—Dell EMC Unity, VMAX, XtremIO, and Isilon — each optimized for various classes of workloads, now all within the same system, the VxBlock 1000.

Dell EMC Unity provides a simplified approach to employing and managing all flash arrays, while XtremIO provides a higher performance option optimized to deliver maximum I/O performance with great efficiency for demanding services such as enterprise wide VDI. VMAX all flash storage delivers rich data services for mission critical workloads, Dell EMC Unity all flash is a good fit for general purpose workloads and Isilon storage provides a network-attached (NAS) scale-out system that delivers maximum capacity. When it comes to applications, there’s no such thing as one size fits all. The VxBlock 1000 provides a common rack environment that IT organizations can use to mix and match storage systems as needed.

The days when separate cabinets were needed for each type of storage system are officially over!

This approach not only allows IT organizations to preserve and maximize investments in IT infrastructure, but the Dell EMC VxBlock 1000 also increases server scalability by 56 percent (from 512 to 800 servers) and supports up to ten times the number of storage arrays (from one to ten arrays) compared to previous generations. For example, up to ten Dell EMC Unity arrays at 16PB each can be configured to provide a total primary storage capacity of 160 PB. Best yet, all of that is accomplished in a way that reduces the total amount of rack space for multi-technologies being consumed by up to 60 percent depending on the equivalent previous generation systems. For example, the footprint of Dell EMC Unity storage has been reduced by a factor of four, while the footprint of XtremIO storage has been reduced by a factor of two. The footprint of Isilon storage has been reduced by an astounding factor of six.

Those gains will only be multiplied as IT organizations make the shift to next-generation NVMe-based storage systems to improve I/O performance. The Dell EMC VxBlock 1000 is one of the first NVMe-ready converged systems to be brought to market.

Of course, our engineers didn’t just focus on the hardware. The management platform we make available for the Dell EMC VxBlock 1000 can manage up to eight different systems. Previously, IT operations teams would have to navigate separate management software for each VxBlock system. Now Not only has the management for multiple systems been unified: IT organizations canstreamline upgrades because there’s now one common process to be applied across multiple technologies previously found in separate VxBlock Systems or special extension cabinetry now within a single VxBlock 1000. That major  innovation will yield as much as a 75 percent reduction in overall lifecycle management time for multi-system environments, as well as an 80 percent reduction in the time it takes to identify critical updates.

There’s an excellent reason IDC just confirmed that we are the industry leader when it comes to CI platforms with 48 percent market share. And IDC1 has documented VxBlock systems make IT operations more efficient by 66 percent while lowering cost of operations by 61 percent. Other crucial benefits include 52 percent less time spent on just keeping systems running, 34 percent faster application deployments, and a 99 percent reduction in unplanned downtime. That results in a 640 percent return on investment (ROI) in a five-year period, with the systems paying for that return within eight months of installation.

There’s a lot alk these days about the critical importance of IT agility. That issue is naturally putting a lot of pressure on IT operations teams. Application owners now expect internal IT teams to be able to provide them with services optimized for their specific types of workloads and with a cloud-like experience. Provisioning of IT resources that once took weeks to accomplish now need to be completed in hours and minutes. That kind of operational efficiency can be achieved with standardized, yet highly flexible, pre-engineered systems, like the VxBlock.

Our customers could not agree more.

“We want to create IT almost like a vending machine. Users select the product they want. They put in their cost center and within seconds that product is delivered. “says John Grieco, Chief Technology Officer for The University of Vermont Health Network.

Achieving that goal requires a level of standardization that can only be achieved by relying on pre-integrated systems. “Our strategy is to standardize at the hardware and software level ruthlessly using a converged infrastructure platform,” explains Grieco. “I want IT to be a dial tone service that is always there.”

IT leaders are being judged not just on how available applications are, but increasingly how quickly IT enables the business to take advantage of new opportunities. The tolerance business leaders have for lengthy IT projects has never been lower. The assumption now is that IT needs to either keep up with or be faster than the pace at which the business is transforming. Achieving that goal starts with modern IT infrastructure based on a Dell EMC VxBlock System 1000 that is by far and away the most advanced converged infrastructure platform ever built bar none. We invite you to see for yourself by visiting the Converged Systems space on DellEMC.com to accelerate wherever your organization’s digital business transformation takes IT next.


These benefits are based on the IDC whitepaper sponsored by Dell EMC, “The Business Value of Modernizing Mission-Critical Applications with Dell EMC VxBlock Systems, October 2017.” (Actual results may vary.)


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Get Your Digital Content to Shine with Arista Networks

Is the rapid rise of digital content testing the limits of your network? Transition to lossless IP networking from HPE and Arista to gain the resiliency, reliability, and scalability while making your content shine.

Arista Neworks Media and Entertainment.jpgSo much is going on in the vibrant media and entertainment arena, it’s hard to keep up. The demand for real-time broadcasting is forging a movement away from traditional HD-SDI to next-generation IP-based operations. Massive media files continue to grow in numbers and volume—having a tremendous impact on file-based workflows. And the distribution of digital content—think video streaming today—is adding to the load of already congested networks. All of this raises the question: Is your network ready for what is next?

The good news is that HPE and Arista offer networking solutions—for media and entertainment—that can transform your infrastructure to better address evolving industry requirements. Of course, a foundational aspect of this transformation is high-speed IP networking that allows many different systems, serving multiple applications, to connect reliably, efficiently, and at scale. HPE and Arista networking solutions, including HPE Pointnext services, can put you on the fast path to that transformation, with high-performance capabilities—including lossless transport—and the agility and scalability that can propel your business forward.

Performance-optimized networking

HPE and Arista leaf and spine switches (7500R, 7280R, and 7020R) are purpose-built for key media and entertainment industry requirements. They deliver low latency and deep buffers for high performance and lossless smooth data traffic. Our leaf and spine designs are scalable and easy to manage. Plus, we offer network monitoring and telemetry tools for better network visibility to detect and alleviate network congestion in real time. This is critical to help ensure a positive experience and, ultimately, create satisfied customers long term.

Furthermore, HPE delivers a complete, end-to-end solution that includes servers and storage with Arista networking for high infrastructure availability and application performance. HPE Apollo, Cloudline, BladeSystem, and ProLiant servers provide the industry’s best infrastructure foundation. This is matched by our storage portfolio, which includes HPE 3PAR, StoreServ, and Nimble all-flash storage, as well as Scality RING for big data and object storage, plus hyper-converged SimpliVity solutions.

Here’s a look at the complete offering:


You can also quickly ramp up and optimize your solution with HPE Pointnext advisory, professional, and operational services. We’ll work with you to find the best approach, implement the right solution, and make sure you’re using that solution to its fullest with a broad range of operational services tailored to your needs.

Confidently capitalize on the explosion of digital data on your network

Take advantage of an agile, high-performing, and lossless HPE and Arista network that’s built and tested for your industry.

  • Increase capacity to broadcast work streams and handle more visually immersive theatrical and special effects workloads.
  • Converge content creation, post-production, rights management, transcoding, and global distribution onto a shared IP infrastructure.
  • Deliver an open, standards-based IP transport, supporting economical and open authoring, rendering, non-linear production, transcoding, and storage systems.

Discover just what’s possible with HPE and Arista networking today. Contact your HPE sales rep, or visit HPE Data Center Networking for more information.


Dell EMC and Cisco Continue Converged Infrastructure Innovation

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As customers and the IT industry convene in Barcelona at Cisco Live this week, I think about our relationship with Cisco that spawned an incredibly significant industry almost a decade ago.

Back in 2009, Dell EMC and Cisco established a unified vision for the modern data center. Our goal was to simplify IT infrastructure adoption and management to enable IT operations teams to focus on delivering new services to help their businesses drive competitive advantage and new revenue. This vision eventually led to today’s Dell EMC VxBlock, a first-of-its-kind converged infrastructure system.

VxBlock Systems are built on Cisco UCS servers, Cisco Nexus switches, Cisco MDS switches, Dell EMC storage and data protection devices, and VMware vSphere hypervisor. According to a recent IDC survey, VxBlock Systems require 66% less operational effort than traditional systems, speed the application development lifecycle by 34%, and pay for themselves in an average of only eight months.¹

We call these outcomes the “turnkey engineered system experience,” in large part, due to another innovation: the Release Certification Matrix for life cycle assurance. Today, the “RCM” regularly provides VxBlock users with pre-validated, interoperable firmware and hypervisor releases and patches for the entire technology stack. This eliminates hundreds of hours of tedious, risky operations that other technology stacks pose.2

Continuing to innovate and to collaborate with Cisco, we extended the VxBlock turnkey experience to the entire data center with Vscale Architecture.

With Vscale Architecture, shared resource pools of Cisco compute, Dell EMC storage and data protection are connected through the Vscale Fabric, which is a software-defined Cisco spine-leaf network. These “logical” converged systems are managed, supported and sustained with the same low OpEx, high availability and agility as a VxBlock System. Customers, such as Inovalon3, say that Vscale has created operational efficiencies enterprise-wide, beyond the scale of a single converged system.

Building on nearly a decade of No. 1 leadership in converged infrastructure sales, we’ve collaborated with Cisco to continue making strides in our journey to the modern data center with the addition of new hardware and software that has made our converged infrastructure portfolio even stronger, faster, more powerful and more automated.

Next Generation Cisco Compute for VxBlock Systems

Our family of VxBlock Systems (the 350, 540 and 740 models) now supports the powerful Cisco UCS B200 M5 Blade Servers. With the latest Intel Xeon Scalable processors, more cores per socket, up to 3TB of memory, and 24 DIMM slots, the M5 servers boost performance for compute-intensive workloads like virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), web infrastructure and enterprise applications such as Oracle and SAP HANA. With the B200 M5 server, you can consolidate virtual servers at higher ratios with increased performance, capacity and throughput while utilizing a smaller, half-width form factor for increased space savings.

The added performance, memory footprint, I/O, and on-board storage of the UCS B200 M5 Blade Server offers additional OpEx savings with fewer servers to procure, power and cool, maintain, warranty, and purchase. Customers will be able to mix both M5 and previously supported M4 blades in VxBlock Systems, giving them more technology choice and investment protection.

Enhanced Cisco Software for Intent-Based Networking with Vscale

The Vscale Architecture supports all three pillars of Cisco intent-based networking. This is a substantial benefit for any organization struggling to maintain a consistent network and security policy as their data centers grow to enormous capacity to support thousands of applications.

The three pillars of intent-based networking are Cisco ACI, Tetration and Network Assurance Engine software. Together, they let you express your intent by writing policies about connectivity and security. The intent might be, “Keep the dev and prod environments separate,” “Quarantine all servers and VMs affected by the ABC attack” or “maintain certain configurations to assure specific performance and availability levels for applications XYZ.” The software translates this intent to configuration commands and continuously monitors all traffic flows and verifies all ACI and Nexus configurations to ensure that your intent is being met.

As long-time partners, Dell EMC and Cisco are both excited about the many use cases and endless possibilities that intent-based networking offers our Vscale customers:

“Together, Dell EMC and Cisco are deploying Vscale with ACI and Tetration to simplify and secure data center operations for some of the largest financial and transportation companies in the world.” said Roland Acra, SVP and GM for Cisco’s Data Center Networking. “We look forward to working with Dell EMC to deliver network assurance along with our industry leading network automation and analytics, to enable these IT operators to shift from being reactive to proactive and to be confident their networks are always operating coherently and as intended.”

If you’re attending Cisco Live EMEA in Barcelona, please stop by our booth G13 and meet our experts. We’d love to speak with you about how VxBlock, Vscale, and Cisco intent-based networking make data centers simpler to manage so that IT experts can deliver more value for the business.


¹ IDC, The Business Value of Modernizing Mission-Critical Applications with Dell EMC VxBlock Systems, October 2017

ESG, Simplifying IT Infrastructure Upgrades with Dell EMC Converged Infrastructures Systems and Vision Intelligent Operations Software. January 2017

³ Inovalon Dell EMC Vscale Architecture Case Study


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