Power behind the New Dell Blades

There has been wide coverage in the news on Dells new Blade Servers, and the Green Data Center features have helped to get attention.  Power savings are claimed to be

The PowerEdge M-Series consumes up to 19 percent less power and achieves up to 25 percent better performance per watt than the HP BladeSystem c-Class1. Compared to the IBM BladeCenter H, the M-Series consumes 12 percent less energy and achieves up to 28 percent better performance per watt1. Built on Dell’s Energy Smart technologies, the PowerEdge M-Series enables businesses to save on power and cooling costs while increasing server capacity. The M-Series also provides lead-free configurations, delivering a “green IT” solution that further helps customers minimize their environmental impact.

To achieve these kind of savings Dell must have made significant inroads in power and cooling design.

  • Dynamic power management enabling administrators to set high/low power thresholds to help ensure blades operate within their defined power envelope;
  • Real time reporting for enclosure and blade power consumption, and the ability to prioritize blade slots for power to provide optimal control over power resources.
  • At Microsoft's IT Forum in Barcelona, I moderated a Green Data Centre Panel Discussion where Ed English from Dell spoke.  I am going to reach out to Ed and see he has any more details on the power and cooling improvements.

    Digging on the web site here is Dell's white paper on the Power Distribution System for the new blades.  It's great they added real time AC power draw #'s the trick is what tools you can use to get the data.  Here are some other highlights from the paper.

    Power for the Dell PowerEdge M1000e Modular Server Enclosure system is provided by a set of Power Supply Units (PSUs) that are installed in the rear of the enclosure. Each PSU is capable of delivering 2360 Watts of power to the system at 12 Volts DC (note: PSUs take in single phase 180‐264v AC and convert it to 12v DC to supply to the system). Three PSUs provide enough power for an entire fully loaded PowerEdge M1000e system, however the PowerEdge M1000e holds six PSUs to support redundant power modes.

    The PowerEdge M1000e system has a Chassis Management Controller (CMC) that performs power monitoring and management for the enclosure. The CMC provides the following functionality:
    • Power Monitoring
    o Reports the enclosure’s real time AC power draw
    o Reports maximum and minimum AC power draw with a time stamp

    • Power Management
    o Manages and allocates the system power budget, ensuring sufficient power is available based on PSU population, redundancy status, system
    configuration, and any power limits set on the enclosure
    o Allows users to select required power redundancy mode
    o Allows users to optionally set a maximum AC power draw for the enclosure
    o Allows users to set a power priority for enclosure slots in the event that the CMC needs to reduce system power consumption
    o Manages Dynamic Power Supply Engagement (explained below)