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Dell's Soviet style two-year plan results in fresh blade servers

55,000 man hours and four acres of pines

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That said, we're very impressed by a rather prosaic element of Dell's blade story and that's how the systems arrive at the customer.

Dell ships customers a single box with the chassis and blades all ready to go. HP and IBM, by contrast, bombard you with dozens of boxes. So, as Principled Technologies sees it, you need about 14 minutes to unpack and install Dell's blade server, while it will take you close to two hours to deal with an IBM unit and more than three hours to deal with an HP unit. For a good chuckle, check out Principled's PDF report on the unpacking affair. (Oh, if only we could get paid to unpack things.)

The M1000e boasts a couple of other nice but pedestrian additions. For example, there's an LCD display on the front of the chassis that can be tilted up or down, depending on the system's placement in a rack. Adminstrators can use the screen for basic configurations tasks such as setting up IP addresses for the hardware.

In addition, the back of the chassis has a KVM module and a management module.

On the networking front, Dell has bundled in one of its very own switches - a M6220 Ethernet switch that has four 1Gb ports and upgradeable ports for stacking or 10Gb. You can also pick up Cisco and Broade gear, including Fibre Channel and InfiniBand hardware.

Blade Some Things

Regular Register readers will find few surprises with Dell's new blade system, since we've documented the system's specifications over the last few months. Those same readers will also be accustomed to Dell's line around blade systems.

Dell claims that blade server market leaders HP and IBM have gone hyping mad with their compact gear.

"We are not about blade everything," Becker said. "We are about listening to our customers and selling them the solution that makes the most sense.

"I have the best blades on the market and am still only going to recommend them where they make sense."

Oddly, Becker talked very little to us about the new blade's price. That's quite the change for a company that has long beat away at the "low cost" theme at every opportunity.

The M1000e starts at $5,999, while the individual blades start at $1,849.

Dell will support Windows and Linux now, and Solaris, if customers ask for it. In addition, the company may roll out double-wide blades one day if it sees a need. The M1000e has been built to hold the fatties.

You can see the Dell unit for yourself here

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