Simplifying IT infrastructure decisions

What’s driving your server purchase? Nearly half of new server purchases are refreshing or replacing older servers, the other half are powering a new project or adding capacity. No matter which category you fall into, your choices on how to architect a solution are significantly more robust than they were just five years ago. According to IDC, the average lifecycle of an x86 server is 4-5 years.  Considering the hardware, software and technology advances, how do you evaluate which architecture will not only power your applications but also reduce IT complexity and ensure you are maximizing your per core licensing expenses?

Only Dell gives you the ability to remove the guesswork, and for the first time directly compare your existing environment to reference architectures. There are a lot of ways to architect a new infrastructure. From more traditional architectures like rack servers and a SAN to converged, hyper-converged and software defined. Understanding your true resource requirements removes the guesswork of evaluating and sizing a solution and provides a solid foundation on which to base a new infrastructure.

Using Dell Performance Analysis Collection Kit (DPACK) as a performance measure, customers can visualize their infrastructures requirements and then directly compare to some of the most popular reference architectures. DPACK is an agentless, non-disruptive software that runs remotely to gather core metrics such as disk I/O, throughput, CPU utilization, memory utilization, free and used capacity and network throughput.  Analyzing these key workload characteristics enables DPACK to remove the guesswork in data center expansion and even troubleshooting key challenges around back up windows.  Run DPACK in your own environment and directly compare your results to the reference architectures.

For a comparison, we built an architecture using average configurations from five years ago that included three PowerEdge R710 servers and an EqualLogic PS6110 array. Using DPACK as the performance measure and running a mixed workload environment of SQL, Exchange and file/print we compared the legacy to three new architectures that customers are purchasing today.

What we discovered

FX2 and VMware VSAN: most powerful VSAN cluster in the world

Combining Dell’s innovative FX2 chassis and VMware VSAN created the most powerful VSAN cluster in the world, in only 2U. That’s right, the FX2 chassis populated with four FC430 dual socket servers and two FD332 storage sleds with all flash drives proved to provide 16X the performance of the legacy solution. The versatility of VSAN licensing and flexibility of the FX2 chassis networking also stood out and enabled the solution to double its performance to 32X the legacy solution by adding an SC4020 all flash array. That’s 16X the performance in one quarter the rack space, or 32X the performance in half the rack space.

R730, SC4020 vSphere architecture: 18X performance

Architecting a new infrastructure using a flash-based SAN array proved to be a great combination with three R730s. The combination produced 18X the performance of the legacy solution and took up the same amount of rack space.  Using R630’s instead of R730’s would further reduce the footprint by 1U per server and provide identical performance.

Dell XC 730xd-12 Nutanix appliance: delivering scalability and simplicity

Reduce complexity and easily scale to meet demands one node at a time. Using a hybrid configuration of 4 SSD’s and 8 HDD’s configuration to balance both performance and value we started with three nodes and delivered 8X the performance of the legacy solution. Easily adding a fourth node delivered 10X the performance of the legacy solution. The combination of Dell and Nutanix combines to deliver scalability while also reducing complexity.

Only Dell provides the clarity to build an architecture that will meet your needs today, scale for the future and remove IT complexity with management tools that simplify and automate throughout the full server lifecycle.  Run DPACK on your own infrastructure to see how a new solution will power your applications and see a full analysis of your environment.

About the Author: Scott Evans

There is no substitute for experience and meeting face to face with customers. Most of my career was spent sitting across from customers collaboratively helping solve enterprise challenges. In transitioning to marketing, this experience has been invaluable because most marketing organizations lack deep enterprise knowledge, data center pain point understanding and the ability to translate industry trends to relevant, customer centric marketing strategy and messaging. Over the last few years of building customer centric messages, campaign strategies and plans, my experience has enabled me to add a differentiated point of view and provide a unique voice and focus on rationalizing a full enterprise portfolio to relevant end to end solutions that speak clearly to customer challenges. Marketing is the science and process of speaking to customers about the value of a solution and real world experience, deep enterprise knowledge and the ability to translate technology to simple, direct messages. These are the skills I've been able to leverage to bring a unique perspective to enterprise marketing.
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