The Dell PowerEdge R710 is a 2U server with hot-pluggable hard disks, a CD/DVD reader, dual USB 2.0 ports, video out and a useful LCD screen which displays monitoring, alerting and offers basic management.
The Dell PowerEdge R710 is powered by the new Intel Nehalem EP (Efficient Processor) processor. The Nehalem features 2.53GHz quad-core processing to maximize performance and performance/watt for data center infrastructures and high density server deployments. The Nehalem-EP processor also features Intel’s Core 45 nm micro-architecture.
There are a couple of features that makes the Nehalem well suited to hosting virtualization. They are:
• Intel 64 Technology for Virtualization.
• Intel VT-x and VT-d Technology.
The Nehalem-EP also includes the new Intel Turbo Boost technology and this combined with Hyper-Threading can give a noticeable increase in performance when required over the previous generation of Dual and Quad Core Xeon processors.
The R710 has two CPU sockets each to house one of these new Nehalems. The server, as can be seen below, came with a single CPU and a CPU blank in the CPU2 socket for thermal reasons.
8GB (4GB X2) memory is installed.Either side of the CPU sockets are nine DDR3 sockets that support both Registered ECC DDR3 DIMMs (RDIMM) or Unbuffered ECC DDR3 DIMMs (UDIMM). As for memory sizes they come in 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB RDIMMs and 1GB or 2GB UDIMMs. Depending on the memory type (ie: UDIMM or RDIMM) this determines the maximum memory supported with up to 96GB of RDIMM memory (with twelve 8GB RDIMMs) or up to 24GB of UDIMM memory (with twelve 2GB UDIMMs ).]
This particular model has 6 x hot-pluggable 3.5” SAS 15K drive slots. Drives can be purchased seperately and installed.
The server comes with a Dell PERC 6i storage controller which uses a dedicated PCI Express slot in riser 1 and can be used to control all drives in the enclosure at the front of the server. The PERC 6i uses the LSI 1078 ROC (RAID on Chip) processor and DDR2 memory. A battery backed write cache is available as an option.
Inside the front of the chassis there are a couple of ports of ‘port’icular interest. The first is an internal USB port – this can have a USB pen drive inserted containing a hypervisor such as VMware ESX, Xen Server or Hyper-V. From this pen drive the server can be booted meaning that all the internal disk space can be allocated to VM storage or there may be no internal disk storage installed at all, with the server accessing it’s VMs on shared storage (ie: SAN) over iSCSI or a fibre channel HBA.
The second port is to connect an internal Solid State Disk (SSD). This is an optional extra and the SSDs come in both 25GB and 50GB models. One point to note is that if you install an SSD it will have to be connected to the PERC 6/i Integrated storage controller and cannot be mixed with any other type of hard drive.
Five hot-swappable fans (orange colour indicates that they are hot pluggable) are mounted just behind the hard disk enclosure at the front of the server. There is an additional fan integrated in each power supply to cool the power supply subsystem and also provide additional cooling for the whole system. Single processor configurations (as per the demo unit) will only have four fans populated.
The Embedded Server Management logic built into the server monitors the speed of the fans. A fan failure or over-temperature in the system results in a notification by the inbuilt systems management environment (iDRAC6 – Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller6). Redundant cooling is supported with one fan failing at a time.
There are a pair of Broadcom 5709C dual-port based embedded gigabit ethernet chips providing four 1Gb ports on the rear of the server. These embedded gigabit ethernet ports are TOE (TCP Offload Engine) and iSCSI enabled (via an optional hardware key).