Dell EMC PowerEdge Rack Servers Review

Easy to monitor, update, and maintain the servers with complementary management tools


What is our primary use case?

I have worked with Dell PowerEdge R320/330/610/630/710 used for hosting such workloads as Microsoft AD DS, DNS, DHCP, File Service and Hyper-V, Veeam Backup and Replication 9.5, Schlumberger software.

I am involved in supporting our clients' server infrastructures.

How has it helped my organization?

The use of Dell PowerEdge servers, equipped with IDSDM modules with embedded VMware ESXi, significantly simplified the storage solution and made it cheaper, for the virtual environment. Also, it is quite easy to monitor, update and maintain the servers with the help of the complementary Dell systems management tools such as OpenManage Essentials, OpenManage Mobile and Repository Manager.

What is most valuable?

Internal dual SD module (IDSDM) for embedded hypervisors, such as VMware ESXi; the advantages are as follows:

  • allows available drive bays to be used more productively
  • inexpensive compared to the traditional setup (two disk drives and a RAID controller)
  • reliable, since SD cards can be mirrored and the mirror can be rebuilt in a few minutes after replacing a corrupted card

What needs improvement?

Back to IDSDM, the physical location of the module is not easily accessible in some Dell PowerEdge servers. Also, the re-mirroring is an offline process, which stops the server boot until the card is fully rebuilt. For example, it may take up to five minutes for 4 GB card.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Fortunately, I have not faced any issues with the servers' stability so far.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No problems with scalability, as all the servers were properly sized for the hosted workloads, with the required excess for future growth. Therefore, when the time comes to increase storage or memory capacity, network performance or throughput by adding or replacing disk drives, memory modules, NICs or HBAs, it will be quite easy to scale them up to meet the requirements.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have never been in touch with Dell support so it is difficult for me to assess.

However, I have read about Dell SupportAssist for enterprise, a service which helps deal with Dell hardware issues in a proactive way by continuously monitoring hardware, sending alerts and log files to Dell support, and creating cases and part replacement requests automatically. As a result, a Dell support engineer can contact a customer before they even know about a problem. If it works like that, it should be very helpful.

Which solutions did we use previously?

It was not a matter of personal choice. My company signed a support contract with a customer having Dell-based server infrastructure. Thus, I had to build up my knowledge and skills needed to deploy, manage, and maintain Dell PowerEdge rack servers.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It would be definitely a plus to purchase servers with iDRAC Enterprise and Server Configuration for OpenManage Essentials licenses, especially for large-scale deployments. This presents an opportunity to benefit from centralized in- and out-of-band management, such as

  • configuring iDRAC and Lifecycle controller settings
  • detecting configuration drifts 
  • deploying operating systems, hypervisors and DUPs, based on templates with the help of Dell OpenManage Essentials and Repository Manager.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Dell Certified Partner.
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