Thicker Than a Blade, Smaller Than a 1U

by Don Marti

Taking the next step in the evolutionary squeeze of the generic Linux server into smaller and smaller packages, Dell has packed the equivalent of six two-way 1U servers into a 3U blade enclosure.

The 1655MC, which looks like a thick blade in a box, supports one or two 1.266 GHz Pentium III processors, up to 2GB of SDRAM and one or two Ultra 320 SCSI drives. The chipset is a ServerWorks ServerSet LE30, and the 1655MC also has two integrated Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and a USB port.

The power comes at a price in space; RLX packs 24 of its thinner blade servers, sporting one Transmeta or Intel Pentium III processor and two laptop-style IDE drives each, into the same three rack units.

Dell's chassis, which accommodates six 1655MCs, has two hot-plug power supplies for 1+1 redundancy. It includes a built-in KVM switch, plus either one or two managed Ethernet switches.

The chassis with three 1655MCs installed will be priced competitively with three of Dell's comparable 1U servers, said Darrel Ward, senior product marketing manager for PowerEdge servers. "You have a cost crossover at the same size you have a space crossover", he said.

The target customer for the 1655MC will use them in a "value-minded, dense environment" such as a cluster or web farm, Ward added.

"We're including for the first time a deployment tool called Remote Install", he said. The tool will facilitate cloning large numbers of Linux boxes from a single master server.

Dell's Linux options for the 1655MC are Red Hat, Red Hat or Red Hat: customers can order it with 7.3, 8.0 or Advanced Server.

Don Marti is editor in chief of Linux Journal.

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