The All New PowerEdge R670 & R770 CSP Edition – Six Five On The Road at Dell Technologies World

By Patrick Moorhead - May 22, 2024

On this episode of the Six Five On The Road, we are joined by Dell’s Justin Bandholz, PowerEdge Portfolio Manager – CSP Manager, for a conversation on the latest developments in Dell’s product offerings specifically designed for Communication Service Providers (CSPs).

Their discussion covers:

  • The latest announcement from Dell regarding the new CSP Edition products, the PowerEdge R670 & R770
  • An explanation of what DC-MHS is and its importance to the industry
  • How the PowerEdge R670 & R770 CSP Edition are engineered to address the unique challenges faced by CSPs
  • Directions to further resources for Dell CSP customers seeking more information

Learn more at Dell.

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TRANSCRIPT

Lisa Martin: Hey everyone. Welcome to Six Five On the Road. Lisa Martin here, your host, with Dave Nicholson. We’re coming to you from Dell Technologies World 2024 at The Venetian Expo in Las Vegas. Things kicked off the other day to literally thunderous applause when Michael Dell and his cast of legends came on stage. Tens of thousands of people here. We’re going to be having great conversations all day today and tomorrow. And Dave, I’m super excited to dig into what’s going on with PowerEdge, lots of news in the last 24 hours.

Dave Nicholson: Let’s get at it.

Lisa Martin: All right. Our guest is Justin Bandholz, PowerEdge Portfolio Manager. Justin, great to have you.

Justin Bandholz: Thank you for having me.

Lisa Martin: Let’s break some news. What are some of the latest PowerEdge servers and enhancements that Dell is announcing here?

Justin Bandholz: So we had just announced our R-670 and R-770 CSP Edition products, it’s the latest lineup of servers from Dell. This is targeted for our CSP customers, and it’s our exciting new offering that we have in the market. It’ll eventually be opened up to all customer base, but we’re really excited to have this offer for our customer sets.

Lisa Martin: Talk a little bit about some of the enhancements that Dell has made here and the what’s in it for me as a customer?

Justin Bandholz: Yeah, absolutely. So from a product offer perspective, we have a couple of key technologies that we’re including in these new products. First and foremost, they are built off of DC-MHS technology, it’s a new OCP standard. We have additional capabilities such as front I/O, cold aisle support, which enables customers to get the maximum advantage out of their cold aisle contained environments, as well as industry standard firmware, gives our customers the ability to overall lower operational costs.

Dave Nicholson: So when you say CSP, usually we think cloud service provider.

Justin Bandholz: You’re absolutely correct, yes.

Dave Nicholson: Which is what the TLA stands for.

Justin Bandholz: Yes.

Dave Nicholson: But are there customers that might be building things in their on-premises data centers that would qualify as essentially a CSP internally, are these products designed to work in those environments as well?

Justin Bandholz: Sure. The first release, the product absolutely is designed to eventually go into those environments, the very first release that we have into the marketplace is going to be targeted towards those CSP use cases, those cloud service provider use cases. But as we move forward in time, we’re going to be able to open up these products to a wider segment of our customer base.

Dave Nicholson: What do the configurations look like? You haven’t said the letters A I to together 10 times in a row yet, so it sounds like you might be one of the adults in the room who recognizes that there are workloads other than AI that are going to be performed by these cloud service providers.

Justin Bandholz: Sure. Absolutely. And when you take a look at this offer, this is a mainstream offer, it is kind of the workhorse of the portfolio. And when we take a look at what types of AI workloads or accelerated workloads will go on these products, they are more of your general purpose, general purpose acceleration with GPUs and other accelerators. But the main core of our acceleration portfolio is going to be our AI product offers, and that’s where the focus is going to be. If a customer is really looking for a dedicated AI type solution, you end up in an XE type of product. This is built for a customers that are looking to maybe distribute AI throughout an enterprise. Perhaps it’s an Edge AI type application for inferencing. But you’re not really going to build an entire generative AI cluster on these offers, that’s not what we’re targeting with this.

Lisa Martin: So then what would you, if you unpack some of the key use cases, one of the ones that comes to mind here is real-time processing?

Justin Bandholz: I would say from a workload perspective for this release, we’re targeting what we’re seeing out of the CSPs, which would be microservices, multi-tenant virtualization, anything where you have maybe distributed database analytics, something that’s going to scale with a cloud service provider customer’s internal infrastructure. This product is well suited for a broad range of general purpose workloads, all the way from HPC applications, all the way down to microservice type deployments. But when we take a look at these specific configurations in the July timeframe, it’s really going to be targeted towards those cloud service provider apps.

Lisa Martin: And what about environments, as we look at Formula One, for example, which Dave and I are big fans of, the environment’s going to be incredibly harsh. Is this a-

Justin Bandholz: Ruggedized type application?

Lisa Martin: Yes.

Justin Bandholz: No, this is traditional data center, so it’s targeted towards traditional 19 inch rack environments, data center deployments. Now, it will go into what we’re calling edge of data center deployment. So if you have a retailer that’s looking to deploy maybe a video solution inside their on store premise, these types of products would fit in there, if they have a somewhat controlled environment inside their edge locations.

Dave Nicholson: But hypothetically, hypothetically speaking, if a customer were, if they really, really wanted to have their servers be papaya orange, like the McLaren, Dell Formula One team-

Justin Bandholz: I’m sure they could talk to the OEM group and they could work something out.

Dave Nicholson Make that work.

Lisa Martin: A little bespoke server action there.

Dave Nicholson: That was really the most serious question that I had for the day. But no, seriously, we’ve been talking to a lot of people about the constraints, not only around AI, but around all IT moving forward. One of those is clearly power. People say power and cooling, it’s really the same thing, right?

Justin Bandholz: Yes.

Dave Nicholson: Are you doing anything to address efficiency?

Justin Bandholz: Yeah, absolutely. We actually had a set of conversations with our CSP customers over the past year and a half, two years in trying to draw out what are the problem areas that they’re facing. Power and cooling rose to the top of the list pretty much almost every single conversation. And it’s not only a question of, “Hey, can I get more power into the rack? Can I deploy more IT?” There are certain areas of the deployment where it is, “Hey, I’m out of cooling or I’m out of power to the rack.

How can I get more within the cap that I’ve set or I have in my data center so I don’t have to deploy or build a new data center environment?” So with the new R670 and 770 CSP Edition, we’ve been partnering closely with Intel releasing on the Xeon 6 E-core family of processors. So this is a new efficiency core based offer, really targeted for efficiency from a power perspective and a overall throughput perspective. So really excited to have this partnership with Intel to release this new offer that is really targeted for that efficiency space.

Lisa Martin: So being targeted for efficiency, we talk with a lot of Dell customers over the years who, and we hear so many that have sustainability initiatives within their organizations, and even in RFPs they say, “We can only work with organizations that are going to help us on our sustainability initiatives.” What is that sustainability angle here from an efficiency perspective, power consumption?

Justin Bandholz: Yeah, absolutely. Anytime you have targets for power efficiency within the product itself, whether it’s energy star certifications, titanium power supplies, the reusability or recyclability of the content of the product itself, all of this is really driven towards sustainability goals. And we view this as an asset for Dell and specifically for these product offers themselves. We really feel that this is on a pathway to giving customers the ability to drive more workload at consistent power utilization levels. Really excited about the product.

Dave Nicholson: So ROI, TCO, this is the leading edge in terms of offerings from Dell in that regard. Whereas a, call it a private user in their on-premises data center might say, “Eh, we’re okay with the last gen stuff for a while.” When you’re reselling everything that you do, these numbers become important. Is the math adding up? That’s my question for you.

Justin Bandholz: Oh, yeah.

Dave Nicholson: Does the math look good for … because you can build amazing systems that can do amazing things, but if you’re going to ask me for a $1.10 instead of a dollar, you better be giving me a $1.50 worth of value. Is the math adding up?

Justin Bandholz: Sure, absolutely. When we take a look at this offer, 2.3 I think is what we are delivering terms of the amount of performance versus the last generation. So it’s a pretty dramatic uplift when you take a look at generation over generation. And then if you’re a customer that’s potentially coming from an older generation product, maybe purchased back in 2019 or 2018, and you’re looking to upgrade, the dramatic improvements in both overall performance as well as power efficiency levels allows you to consolidate a lot more workload onto a fewer number of servers versus just maintaining a older base of systems.

Lisa Martin: So it sounds foundational to me in terms of helping organizations to modernize their data centers?

Justin Bandholz: Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean, this is the core, in the PowerEdge offer, it is the baseline for what we’re going to be bringing to market over the next year or so. And from an offer perspective, as customers are evaluating their new workload needs or transitioning from where they are today to go into the future, in R670 or 770 CSP Edition, specifically in that CSP space, yes, this is going to be one of those foundational offers that should provide the roots of your data center infrastructure.

Dave Nicholson: And deliveries start when?

Justin Bandholz: We’re targeting July for first deliveries, and then we’ll have ongoing releases with new content as the year goes on.

Dave Nicholson: In this space what do you see as the constraints or the bottlenecks that need to be overcome as we move forward? So I’m assuming this is PCIe Gen 5 technology.

Justin Bandholz: Yep, absolutely.

Dave Nicholson: What does that look like? Not what’s keeping you up at night, but when you think in terms of, wow, it’s going to be great when we can fix this part of the puzzle?

Justin Bandholz: Sure. So when we take a look at some of the workload problems, I shouldn’t say problems, challenges I would say, as we’re moving forward in time as an industry, when we take a look at it from an industry level, there are a couple of key things that are standing out as inhibitors to adopting new technology. One is just the proliferation of technology that is coming from all sources, whether it’s different CPU types or I/O technologies or storage technologies. How do you actually manage that and deliver a solution to a customer? That’s where a technology such as DCMHS come into play because you’re standardizing the server components and making everything modular.

So now as you go forward in time, it becomes a lot easier to, in a more agile fashion, take new technology that’s being delivered, integrate it into your offering and get it into your customer base. It allows our customers to absorb new technology faster because you’re making very minor changes in the product to get new technology into their hands. And you’re also giving them a much bigger scope of technology to choose from because you’re basing on standardization. The other that is definitely top of mind for a lot of customers is power utilization. And we see that power utilization from the suppliers is continuing to go up because they’re wanting to do more work, they’re wanting to get more workload into our systems. That does provide challenges for our customers that may have designed their data center infrastructure potentially 5, 10, 15 years ago.

And now you’re running into situations where, “Hey, I may need to deliver liquid cooling into the rack, I may need to deliver more efficient hot aisle, cold aisle contained environments,” and those types of technologies. And so when we see these trends that are occurring, it’s how do you consume that for inside Dell? And then how do you deliver a solution to your customers that are easy to consume, that can actually integrate easily with either their brownfield infrastructure? Or if they need to upgrade, how do you make it sure that they’re designing the next data center and they’re spending their money wisely for technologies that are going to be sustained throughout the decades?

Lisa Martin: What are some of the things that you’ve heard since the news broke, some of the feedback from around the floor here at Dell Technologies World?

Justin Bandholz: Oh, a lot of good buzz. AI is definitely everywhere. And it is definitely the hot ticket. And we got a lot of customers that are asking about that. We have a lot of customers that are asking about new technologies such as CXL. So there’s a lot of new technologies that are coming in this year and next year that are really driving I’ll say conversations. Customers are really interested about acceleration and putting acceleration in different spots, whether it’s generative AI or just some basic machine learning. How do they accelerate those type of capabilities within our data center? How do they accelerate those capabilities at the edge? So that, I mean, without a doubt, is one of the top questions that we’re getting as we’re having conversations in the booth and in our meeting places.

Lisa Martin: Well, one of the things that Michael Dell said yesterday on stage is ‘we have big ears’, and I know that very well about Dell Technologies and its dedication to really listening to the customers, taking in their feedback, working with them on the advancements and the innovations. So that’s great to hear that the feedback has been good, not that I’m surprised at all.

Justin Bandholz: Oh, yeah, yeah. And it’s more than just having those conversations, taking their feedback, and then producing products that align to what they need. It’s also then how do you drive that as standardization within the industry? Dell participating in different standards bodies, making sure that the innovations are available to a broader audience. It helps Dell, it helps the industry, it helps everybody. So in some respects that whole drive towards listening to your customer is sometimes a little bit broader than Dell, and we’re happy to participate.

Lisa Martin: Oh, definitely. Yeah. Well, the ecosystem is incredibly strong, we saw that on stage yesterday. So great to hear what you guys are doing there. And that’s this really very symbiotic relationship that we’re hearing. Justin, thank you so much for coming on the program and sharing-

Justin Bandholz: Absolutely

Lisa Martin:… with us what’s new with PowerEdge. And congrats on all the great work.

Justin Bandholz: Thank you very much. Thank you for the time.

Lisa Martin: All right. Our pleasure. For our guest and for Dave Nicholson, I’m Lisa Martin, you’re watching Six Five On the Road from Dell Technologies World 2024 from Vegas. Stick around, more great content coming up next.

Patrick Moorhead
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.