c6100 - How does this thing work?

Ryan Miller rmiller at smartertravelmedia.com
Tue Jul 20 16:05:37 CDT 2010

I had similar questions and spent enormous effort dredging answers out of Dell, so let me share to the best of my memory and/or correctness of the answers I was given.

1.        The reason it's hard to get answers out of your Dell reps is that this is a productization of semi-custom work they've done for large customers who buy 100 racks worth at a time.  They're trying to make it available to smaller shops than that, but the C-series is still sold on a rather different basis than the R-series.  They will want you to buy at least a dozen of them in one go, and they will want you to already be fasttrack certified and buy your own spare parts.  They are warrantied, but it's more like they replace your parts usage than that they really do troubleshooting and Unisys-parts-replacement.  They also have a relatively long lead time (over a month).  But they are available now.

2.       In terms of the hardware, there's no shared backplane or anything like that.  The only shared element is the power supplies.  Each set of six drives is physically cabled to a RAID card in one of the four servers.  Each server has its own Ethernet ports and each server also has a management Ethernet port to talk to the BMC via IPMI.  This is *not* a DRAC, and they do not run OMSA.  You can run whatever RAID types the LSI cards support, and you can get options ranging from JBOD to an LSI card that seems to have specs similar to what is sold as H700 on the R-series.

3.       Pricing for us ended up being basically the same as 4x similarly configured R610s.  We are part of the Expedia family and have a negotiated rate on R-series hardware, so this may or may not be true for you.  Obviously there's a space savings.  There's some power savings, but the numbers we ran made it seem not that enormous.  Beware that depending on how power-hungry your configuration is you may not have true 1+1 power supply redundancy.  Supposedly if you lose a PSU and you're over the capacity of the other one it does some kind of throttling rather than just crashing one or more of the four nodes, but I was unsuccessful at getting good information on how that works.

Hope that helps.  I'll try to dredge my memory if there's any other information that could be helpful.

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