Dell PowerEdge VRTX offers All-in-One Server for SMBs

Designed for remote and small office environments in mind, the newly released Dell PowerEdge VRTX is a converged IT solution that incorporates enterprise-class capabilities and reliability. Though it was unveiled at the Dell Enterprise Forum at the beginning of June, it only caught my attention at a Dell event about converged infrastructure held in Singapore late last month.

The PowerEdge VRTX is essentially a mini server room in a single chassis, with a 24-port 1GbE switch (16 internal, 8 external ports), up to 25 hard disk drives (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD), and up to four server nodes with hot-swappable power supply units. The chassis is available in either a 5U rackable server or tower configuration of about the same dimension.

Even before I looked at the detailed specs sheet, the value proposition of the VRTX server jumped up at me during the event itself. After having a couple of weeks thinking thought it, I’ve drawn up a list of why it may make more sense to deploy it in place of four separate servers.

Fast Deployment

Aside from cramming four server nodes into a single VRTX chassis, Dell has clearly expanded efforts on the R&D front to come up with a Chassis Management Controller (CMC) that offers a GUI front over the integrated hardware of the VRTX.

This makes it literally a click of a mouse button to rewire the network, as well as manage the server nodes and storage for a hassle-free, rapid deployment. And because the various components are already qualified to work with each other, integration pain points are eliminated to make provisioning of new resources that much faster and simpler.

Indeed, Dell says the VRTX is geared towards management on a variety of fronts, including physical, virtual, local and remote environments, and can operate in-band or out-of-band. Moreover, it will work with or without a systems management software agent.

Low Footprint

As you can imagine, the integration of networking, server and storage into a single chassis gives the PowerEdge VRTX the footprint of a 5U rack server. This is a very compact chassis that is equivalent to four separate 1U rack server with 1U for a network switch – but with significantly greater flexibility in deployment.

Most small businesses would probably go for the tower option though, which means four separate towers compared to just one with the VRTX. Moreover, the converged nature of the VRTX keeps cabling nightmare at bay with only eight external facing 1GbE ports.

Cost Savings

It is my understanding that the PowerEdge VRTX is positioned at a price point that is similar to that of deploying comparable, network, storage infrastructure and number of servers. While this doesn’t sound that much from a purely hardware perspective, it is a lot considering you get hardware-level integration and device management via the CMC for the same price.

Finally, the VRTX eliminates management overhead and downtime that can result from having to coerce disparate or incompatible hardware to work together, including having to pay external vendors for multiple visits to reconfigure to redeploy new hardware. This ultimately translates into cost savings that small businesses will welcome.

Despite its strengths, the PowerEdge VRTX is obviously not for everyone. Very small businesses with need for just 1-2 servers and not much in terms of storage would probably find the VRTX server an overkill.

Still, there is much to like about the VRTX for SMBs that requires its computing capabilities. For example, a small business could deploy an N-Tier architecture with a firewall on one node, a couple of nodes running Windows Server 2012 to serve as the web server, and Windows SQL Server for the database backend on the fourth node.

To underscore the flexibility of the Dell PowerEdge VRTX server, I will be outlining three practical use cases for it in my next blog.

This is a paid post in conjunction with IDG, Dell, and Microsoft SQL Server