Direct from Development - PowerEdge MX7000 Acoustical Options
Wed, 11 Nov 2020 00:11:49 -0000|
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For the majority of PowerEdge MX7000 deployments, the acoustical experience meets customer expectations. For customers deploying MX7000 in noise-sensitive areas, a three-pillar strategy can help reduce the acoustical noise output. These pillars are: Configuration selection; Software settings; and Acoustical hardware.
Today’s server market is a challenging place to build quieter servers. Virtually every new generation of components require more power to drive incredible new features. Increased power means increased heat generation, stimulating increased airflow to achieve required cooling. For technology-dense data center products like the Dell EMC PowerEdge MX7000, increasing fan speed is the prescribed approach to deliver new features, though it comes with some acoustical output tradeoffs.
Leveraging the new efficient thermal design of the MX70001, the acoustical design of MX7000 fits well within the Dell EMC metrics for standard unattended modular data center products. However, Dell EMC acoustical engineers are aware of unique permanent or temporary applications where customers show increased acoustical noise sensitivity. For these applications, Dell EMC recommends a three-pillar strategy to achieve the desired level of noise for your application:
- Configuration selection;
- Software settings
- Acoustical hardware
Note: The MX7000 is not appropriate for office or general-use space deployments with or without the following pillars.
Image 1: The PowerEdge MX7000 modular platform
The most effective strategy for reducing acoustical output starts at the point of purchase. Though specific configuration recommendations are difficult to provide due to the wide range of workloads and applications that the MX7000 system supports, the following guidelines can be used to understand tradeoffs and optimize a system for a specific application space.
- Typically sled fans (rear fan modules) are the loudest component in the system, therefore reducing the total power consumption on individual sleds is the most successful approach to reducing acoustics. Choose lower wattage components, especially CPUs, and optimize DIMM counts to reduce sled power consumption.
- For compute sled configurations (MX740c & MX840c), CPU thermal design power (TDP) drives cooling requirements of the sled for most workloads. Choose the lowest TDP required achieve workload requirements. Where possible choose general purpose processors over low core-count or frequency optimized models to achieve lower acoustical output.
- For IOM-A/B options, 10 GbT and 25 GbE pass through, fabric expander (MX7116n) module and the switching module (MX5108n) provide better acoustical experience. Fabric switching engine (MX9116n) requires higher fan speeds to cool, which may compromise efforts to reduce acoustics.
- For IOM-C options, SAS storage IOM (MX5000s) requires lower fan speeds than the fibre channel module (MXG610s).
- When sled or module slots are empty, blanks must be installed to achieve efficient cooling and keep fan speeds from increasing.
The following table lists three configurations designed for specific workloads and deployment in attended data center applications.
Table 1: Select configurations that are designed for deployment in attended data center spaces.
- Computational MX740c sled configured with 2 145W CPUs, 12 32GB DIMMs, 4 1.6TB NVME SSD drives, 2 25Gb Mezzanine cards, and an H740 PERC.
- Transactional MX740c sled configured with 2 135W CPUs, 12 32GB DIMMS, 6 1.6TB 12Gb/s SAS SSD drives, 2 25Gb Mezzanine cards, 1 Fiber Channel MMZ, 2 M.2 Drives
- Virtualization MX740c configured with 2 135W CPUs, 12 32GB DIMMS, 6 1.6TB NVME SSD drives, 2 25Gb Mezzanine cards, 1 H745P PERC. MX5016s configured with 16 1.6TB SAS SSD drives.
For some MX7000 deployments, noise sensitivity may be situational and/or temporary. For these applications Dell EMC developed a software-based solution that can be enabled on demand. Sound cap is a custom thermal profile available in the BIOS and iDRAC GUI on MX740c and MX840c sleds. The sound cap feature limits acoustical output by applying a percentage-based power cap to the CPU. Therefore, acoustical output reduction comes at some cost to system performance.
Currently, sound cap must be enabled manually in each compute sled installed in an MX7000 chassis to be most effective. Sled reboot is required to enable or disable sound cap. Currently, sound cap can only be enabled in a sled iDRAC interface or in the BIOS options during sled boot up, sound cap cannot be enabled through MSM.
Table 2: Sound power1 impact for typical and feature rich configurations of PowerEdge MX7000 chassis when all CPUs are stressed to maximum power.
Sound Power with All CPUs @ Max Stress, Sound Cap Off, (bels)
Sound Power with All CPUs @ Max Stress, Sound Cap On, (bels)
- Sound power reported in this table represent engineering measurements collected during the course of development and are not official declared sound power measurements for MX7000. For official MX7000 sound power output data, refer to the MX7000 environmental data sheet.
- Typical A configuration includes 4 MX740c sleds, 2 MX840c sleds, 4 MX5108n IOMs and 2 MXG610 IOMS. MX740c sleds configured with 2 140 W TDP CPUs, 12 32 GB DIMMS, 6 1.6 TB SAS SSD Drives, 2 25 Gb Mezzanine Cards, 1 Fibre Channel MMZ. H740+ PERC. MX840c sleds configured with 4 165 W TDP CPUs, 48 16 GB DIMMS, 6 1.6 TB NVME Drives, 2 25 Gb Mezzanine Cards, 1 Fibre Channel MMZ.
- Typical B configuration includes 6 MX740c sleds, 4 MX5108n IOMs and 2 MXG610 IOMs. MX740c sleds configured with 2 140 W TDP CPUs, 12 32 GB DIMMS, 6 1.6 TB SAS SSD Drives, 2 25 Gb Mezzanine Cards, 1 Fibre Channel MMZ. H740+ PERC.
- Feature Rich configuration includes 6 MX740c sleds, 2 MX5016s sleds, 2 MX9116n IOMs, 2 MX7116n IOMs, and 2 MX5000s SAS Switches. MX740c sleds configured with 2 165W TDP CPUs, 24 32 GB DIMMs, 6 1.6 TB NVME Drives, 2 25 Gb Mezzanine Cards, H745p PERC. MX5016s sleds configured with 16 1.6 TB SAS SSD,
Finally, for persistent acoustically-sensitive deployments, Dell EMC has developed a hardware baffle solution, available as an optional add-on package to the MX7000 chassis. The baffle fits behind the MX7000 chassis and is designed to reduce the acoustical contribution of the rear fan modules. The baffle features a tool-less install; and fits within a standard rack depth without impacting cable management or rack door operation.
During product development, the MX7000 acoustical baffle and sound cap were tested under iterative usability studies. 26 IT professionals provided their experiential insights and acceptable performance tradeoffs for the MX7000 acoustical baffle and sound cap under simulated MX7000 workloads. The baffle alone was reportedly effective in reducing some shrill tones, even at 100% CPU utilization. Usability testing resulted in resoundingly positive testing scores, as the baffle scored the highest grade averaging an ‘A’. IT Professionals reported the acoustical benefit of shrill tones being blocked, making the MX7000 an acceptably quiet chassis to work around. Thus, the sound cap coupled with the acoustical baffle was worth the acoustic-to-performance trade-off in certain work environments. In these unique work scenarios, peer communication and employee discomfort-to-noise can be managed where employees may be mandated to work around exceptionally loud blade servers.
The new PowerEdge MX7000 chassis is a versatile and dense modular infrastructure that comes with acoustical noise tradeoffs. For the majority of MX7000 deployments in unattended data centers, the acoustical experience will meet customer expectations. For customers deploying MX7000 in noise sensitive areas, these three pillars can help reduce the acoustical noise output of the PowerEdge MX7000.
1. See the Direct from Development tech note, “PowerEdge MX7000 Chassis Thermal Airflow Architecture”
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Direct from Development - PowerEdge MX7000 Acoustical Baffle
Tue, 10 Nov 2020 23:59:32 -0000|
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For highly-sensitive noise environments, the new PowerEdge MX7000 offers an optional Acoustical Baffle. Users have commented that the baffle improved sound quality “to a kind of white noise”. Installation of the MX7000 Acoustical Baffle can be performed quickly in the field, no tools required.
Modular systems can be loud: The power, density, scalability and dynamic range of rack-mounted modular systems (such as PowerEdge blade enclosures and PowerEdge FX2) requires a powerful cooling capability that can generate more acoustical energy than a traditional rack-mount server. Customers that choose the scalability and flexibility of a modular platform often sacrifice noise sensitivity in the process and are left with few choices when it comes to mitigating the increased noise associated with these products. In the 14thgeneration of PowerEdge servers, Dell EMC has embraced this acoustical challenge and worked with a jury of IT professionals to develop several solutions for customers to reduce the noise impact of modular systems One of these solutions is the MX7000 Acoustical Baffle.
Image 1: The new PowerEdge MX7000 modular platform
The acoustical baffle is an optional, simple-to-install add-on that snaps to the rear of the MX7000 chassis directly behind the rear fans. When installed, the baffle improves the acoustical output of the rear fans and diffuses some of the airflow away from someone working behind the chassis. The acoustical baffle is specifically designed for noise-sensitive deployments that may require temporary or permanent noise mitigation. IT professionals surveyed on the performance of the baffle reported that it improved sound quality “to a kind of white noise”, and that it “removed shrill tones by muffling the higher frequencies”. Most importantly, when the baffle is deployed in conjunction with the Sound Cap profile in iDRAC, noise levels typically remain low enough to carry on a conversation within a meter of the chassis.
MX7000 Acoustical Baffle installation instructions
Installation of the MX7000 Acoustical Baffle is simple and straightforward:
- Access the rear of an MX7000 chassis.
- Align the acoustical baffle with arms facing (inwards) toward the rear of the chassis and optical window on the bottom.
- Locate the cut outs on each side of the rear of the chassis.
- Push the baffle until the tabs engage onto the chassis.
Image 2: MX7000 Acoustical Baffle installed at the rear of MX7000 chassis.
MX7000 Acoustical Baffle restrictions
- Although the geometry of the MX7000 Acoustical Baffle is optimized to minimize any impact to the cooling capability of the rear fans, the baffle is not recommended for systems configured with CPU’s that have TDP specifications greater than 140W1 operating in environments warmer than 35°C. In these situations, system performance may be impacted.
- The acoustical baffle is not designed as a cable management tool and cannot support the weight of cables. Do not lay cables on the baffle or affix cables to the baffle.
For noise-sensitive deployments, the optional PowerEdge MX7000 Acoustical Baffle can be installed to mitigate acoustical output. The acoustical baffle improves sound quality “to a kind of white noise”, as users have commented. Users comfortable with Data Center levels of noise need not install the optional acoustical baffle, but where quiet operation is paramount, the MX7000 Acoustical Baffle is highly effective.
1. Performance of some low core-count processors with TDPs below 140W may also be impacted by the presence of the baffle in higher ambient environments. Reach out to your Dell representative for more information.
Direct from Development – PowerEdge MX-Series Optimizations for the Software Defined Data Center
Tue, 10 Nov 2020 23:17:51 -0000|
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The Software Defined Data Center is emerging as one of the leading architectural approaches for customers who wish to cut costs, increase agility and improve reliability without incurring vendor lock-in. The new MX-Series Modular solutions from Dell EMC were designed specifically to enable SDDC by integrating key optimizations for Software Defined Storage and Software Defined Networking with the industry leading Dell EMC PowerEdge Server family.
The term Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) defines the extension of virtualization to all data center resources. According to Wikipedia, an SDDC virtualizes “all elements of the infrastructure – networking, storage, CPU and security and delivers them as a service.” The benefits include reduced acquisition cost, reduced operating cost, increased levels of automation with each component potentially provisioned, operated and managed through an application programming interface (API). Most customers have started the journey towards SDDC with the implementation of server based hypervisors like VMWare, Hyper-V and KVM for the compute layer and many have extended this concept to storage with Software Defined Storage (SDS) solutions. For these customers, the next stage in the journey will often be the virtualization of Network Services (SDN). The Dell EMC MX-Series has been designed specifically to assist customers with this journey.
MX Optimizations for SDS
Software Defined Storage (SDS) solutions aggregate disk storage local to each server into a highly reliable, extremely scalable, high performance storage pool that is easy to deploy and manage. This approach costs less, performs better and has helped many customers reduce the time it takes to deploy new solutions but has historically been a poor fit for blade environments due to their low disk counts.
The complexity of managing large numbers of servers led to the development of blade systems where multiple servers could be enclosed and managed from a single chassis. The challenge for many customers as they evolve to SDS based storage is that these systems were designed for the SAN based storage technologies available and simply do not offer the local disk capacities necessary for SDS.
With drive subsystems optimized primarily for boot functions, most blade designs offer only 2 drives. In designing the MX-Series, Dell EMC Engineers took the opportunity to rethink the entire architecture and to design a solution that not only exceeds the management efficiencies of existing blade solutions but adds in key design elements that make it an ideal solution for SDS environments.
MX SDS Capacity Enhancements
A key element of SDS optimization is capacity. Unlike other 2 socket blade solutions on the market, the Dell EMC PowerEdge MX740c offers up to 8 drives including 6 front-mount hot pluggable 2.5” drives and 2 internal SSD’s installed on the optional Boot Optimized Storage System (BOSS) controller.
For customers desiring the cost efficiency of traditional disks, this allows for up to 5 x 2.4TB SAS drives for a total of 12TB of raw capacity, 1 SSD for caching and then offers the optional BOSS controller to provide space for the operating system and log files.
For customers desiring maximum capacity and performance, the system can be configured for “All Flash” operation with raw capacities up to 23TB using 6 x 3.84TB SSD’s. The optional BOSS controller can again be utilized maintain the operating system and log files allowing all hot pluggable drives to be utilized for SDS.
For customers with even more demanding storage requirements, the optional MX5016s storage system can be added. With support for up to 16 additional hot plug SAS drives, this device can be used add drive slots to 1 server or to divide the drive slots between other servers in the enclosure to increase the capacity of an SDS solution.
Other considerations for optimized SDS
SDS solutions are designed to accommodate network bottlenecks however, it is logical that reducing latency and increasing bandwidth can also increase the efficiency of the storage pool by reducing the replication time required to protect the pool. “All Flash” environments in particular can deliver significantly higher Input/Outputs per second (IOP’s) than traditional disks and the subsequent increase in disk activity can more quickly be processed in an environment where network latency is reduced and/or network bandwidth is increased.
Dell EMC Engineers addressed both of these elements in the MX-Series. First, all compute devices have standardized on 25Gb/s Ethernet which more than doubles the throughput available with existing 10Gb/s technologies. Second, the MX-Series offers network switching options specifically designed to accommodate the full bandwidth of the solution with no oversubscription. With industry-leading latency rates of sub-600ns for the MX5108n and Sub-500ns for the MX9116n, the MX-Series also processes network transactions faster.
Note: an SDS solution can survive the failure of multiple disks but not the failure of all the disks. For this reason, Dell EMC Engineers designed the MX5016s to support a maximum of 16 drives and to allow the addition of multiple MX5016’s in a single enclosure to avoid the risk of creating a single point of failure for the entire SDS pool. This design dramatically reduces the impact of a storage sled failure. Each MX5016s has redundant, hot plug expanders and is connected to redundant SAS switches in the enclosure.
MX Optimizations for SDN
All MX switch options come enabled for SDN. Delivering on the promise of “Open Networking,” both the MX5108n and the MX9116n ship pre-configured with Dell EMC Networking OS10 but include ONIE, enabling the option for third party SDN solutions from Dell EMC Networking partners.
The Dell EMC MX-Series was designed specifically to help customers facilitate their move to a Software Defined Data Center. From compute, to storage through to networking, the solution has been designed to work seamlessly and deliver uncompromised performance, reliability and efficiency. Tying all of these elements together is the new Open Manage Enterprise management framework which is built on the same API’s that Dell EMC provides to customers for custom development. This open approach allows customers to integrate the MX-Series seamlessly within their own management tools and workflows or, use the interface provided by Dell. Most importantly, this “open” approach allows customers to avoid costly vendor lock-in.