Dell EMC Extreme Scale Infrastructure Group Adopts M.2 For Capacity NVMe Storage

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Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 M.2 Low Cost SSDs
Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 M.2 Low Cost SSDs

Dell EMC is a data center juggernaut, especially in the enterprise arena. The company churns out generations of bedrock servers such as the Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd and Dell EMC PowerEdge R640 servers that STH reviewed this generation. Beyond the typical enterprise deployments, the Dell EMC Extreme Scale Infrastructure Group is behind looking at solving the hard problems in computing. Current areas of focus are for things like big data analytics and deep learning / AI. With that, the group now has an innovative solution to solve for cramming lots of storage into a server.

Dell EMC Extreme Scale Infrastructure M.2 NVMe Sled

The new Dell EMC Extreme Scale Infrastructure M.2 NVMe SSD sled can handle 10x M.2 SSDs. The design is very telling as it uses a PCIe x16 connector and is roughly the size of an NVIDIA Tesla double-width GPU. Onboard is a PCIe switch that allows the 10x M.2 NVMe SSDs to share a PCIe x16 backhaul to the system. One can also see additional power connectors to help power the drives.

Dell EMC Extreme Scale Infrastructure M.2 Card
Dell EMC Extreme Scale Infrastructure M.2 Card

The idea here is that Dell EMC can fit 4x of these into a PowerEdge C4140 chassis. One can even see the possibility of mixing GPU and NVMe storage in a single chassis.

Here is an overview of the Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 1U server with 40x M.2 SSDs installed.

Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 M.2 Low Cost SSDs
Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 M.2 Low Cost SSDs

You will notice that the PowerEdge C4140 has a PCIe 3.0 x16 connections between the CPU and the PCIe boards. That gives the PCIe oversubscription ratio of about 2.5:1 which is reasonable. We have seen several designs from other manufacturers exceed 6:1 so this is certainly a higher-performance option even though it is using lower-cost M.2 form factor NVMe SSDs. The design will allow for 1PB of storage or more in the 1U server as capacities go up. The SSDs can be shared over the network via 100Gbps links (OPA, Infiniband, 100GbE) off of each CPU to avoid crossing socket to socket internally.

 

You can read more about this from Dell EMC here.

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