i3D.net has been invited by Dell to test the 12th generation Dell servers. As we are rapidly adding new capacity to our hosting environment we always try to add servers based on the latest generation of CPUs. We have recently installed 2250 Dell R210 II servers with Intel E3-1230 and another 500 Dell R410 servers with dual Intel L5645 (2×6 cores).
i3D.net is a hosting provider operating a global network of 7000 servers in Rotterdam, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Tokyo and Sydney. Bundled with our proprietary software we provide the hosted environment for many game titles on Microsoft Xbox360, Sony Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, PC, Apple iOS and Android and we provide deployment and management software to our clients. Our server footprint grows with an average of 70% per year.
Dell offered us the opportunity to test the Dell R620 hardware in preparation of the launch of our private cloud offering. i3D.net is creating a customer setup on the Openstack software, with Dell hardware and adapted to hosting game environments such as scalable Facebook games and rich media Xbox Live (Arcade) titles.
Dell R620 Hardware
The Dell R620 has impressive hardware features compared to the 11th generation Dell server (Dell R610).
Dual Socket Intel E5 offers increased performance, more cache, a multiple of cores. We tested the dual Intel E5-2660 setup with 20 MB L3 cache and 8 CPU cores per socket.
A total of 768 GB DDR3 memory is supported, running on 1666 MHz. Our test setup has 8x8GB = 64 GB DDR3 memory.
The chassis will be available as 2.5″ hot swap configuration supporting 10 disks for a total of 20 TB disk space. This configuration has front VGA, no optic drive, no diagnostic front LED and does not support the SD card reader with front slot.
Other configuration options include a 4 disk 2.5″ system that supports all options including VGA port and optic drive. There is also a 6 disk and 8 disk chassis. For data center operations the front VGA port and diagnostic LED are only used to resolve hardware failures, where on-site staff is faster to respond than the external Dell 4 hour 24×7 support. The benefit is minimal thus our choice is the 10 drive chassis.
The Dell R620 features an incredibly flexible network setup: the choice is between “on-board” Intel, Broadcom and another 3rd party network chips. The default configuration has 4 copper ports with 1 GbE. The network uses a click-on system so you are able to swap two ports to 10 GbE over copper. There is a fifth port for the iDrac 7 Enterprise card.
Dell Lifecycle Management
The Dell Lifecycle management is updated and now supports automatic plug and play driver and firmware configuration. If the controller detects new or changed hardware it will be able to recognize this hardware and update the firmware on demand. This is useful for motherboard updates if a new CPU generation is installed, if a PCI-E card is added, if a new SSD disk is installed or if one of the “on-board” NIC cards are swapped.
The Dell R620 can boot from internal SD cards. One main card is installed and a secondary mirror card can be used for redundancy. This will make the Dell R620 a powerful disk-less server system in advanced cloud environments – where servers will be shutdown if not used, saving in energy consumption and data center cooling overhead costs. There is a third SD card installed near the back-plane and depending on the chassis you can insert a fourth SD card in the front bay.
The server also supports Fusion IO type of swappable cards, to improve the available system IO for specific tasks, such as databases.