What You May Not Know About PowerEdge VRTX

We just learned this week that the PowerEdge VRTX, which was announced in June of 2013, will remain in the Dell EMC portfolio into 2021.  This is great news for customers who have invested into the “datacenter in a box” platform and opens up an opportunity for those who aren’t using it.  It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the PowerEdge VRTX platform, so here are a few things you may not know.

It Supports GPUs

As the product teams were developing PowerEdge VRTX back in 2010, virtual desktops were becoming a trend in the datacenter, but adoption in remote offices was still only being considered.  With this in mind, the engineering teams decided to include the ability for PowerEdge VRTX to support GPUs with the idea that it could be utilized for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in the future.  Up to 2 single-wide, 105W, actively cooled GPUs are currently supported.

It Can Hold Up to 448 Intel Xeon SP Cores

Okay, this statement may be a bit misleading at first.  The PowerEdge VRTX chassis doesn’t house CPU cores – the blade servers that fit inside it does.  The PowerEdge VRTX supports up to 4 x PowerEdge M640p blade servers which can each support 2 x Intel Xeon SP 8176 (28 core each) CPUs, so 4 servers each with 2 x 28 core CPUs = 224.  Turn on Intel’s Hyper-threading and you get 448 cores.  While misleading, the point is that it supports the latest Intel CPUs.

It Can Store 96TB of Flash / 168TB of HDD

PowerEdge VRTX comes in two models: 25 x 2.5″ and 12 x 3.5″.  The largest 2.5″ SSD drive available today is 3.84TB (25 x 3.84TB) = 96TB.  The largest 3.5″ drive available is a 14TB 7k SAS (12 x 14TB = 168TB.)  It’s all SAS storage, but it could be a huge savings from other externally connected storage if you don’t need fancy storage technologies like compression or de-duplication

It Can’t Support Pass-Through Storage

I’d love to say PowerEdge VRTX is an ideal platform for VMware vSAN, but it’s not.  Why?  The PowerEdge VRTX uses a shared PowerEdge RAID Controller (SPERC) which is unable to support pass-through therefore vSAN can’t use it.  That said, VMware vSphere automatically sees the SAS connected drives in a PowerEdge VRTX so it’s a great choice for traditional ESXi workload (with shared SAS storage.)

Although I’m admittedly biased, I think the PowerEdge VRTX is a great platform for Remote Environments, Test/Dev environments or even dedicated business unit projects.  To learn more, I encourage you to check out my original blog post at https://bladesmadesimple.com/2013/06/an-introduction-to-dell-poweredge-vrtx/ and then contact your local Dell EMC rep for more details, a demonstration, or even some evaluation gear.

I want to thank you for continuing to support my hobby of running this blog. I don’t receive any money to help run this site, so your continued interest is what matters to me.  If you have any topics that you’d like me to write about, please let me know on Twitter (@Kevin_Houston), email me at kevin AT bladesmadesimple.com or leave a comment below.

Kevin Houston - Founder, BladesMadeSimple.comKevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over 20 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace.  Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization.  Kevin has worked at Dell EMC since August 2011 as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market from 2011 to 2017 and now works as a Chief Technical Server Architect supporting the Central Enterprise Region at Dell EMC.


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