Dell Debuts Server-With-No-Name at VMworld

Opteron server display

The mock-up server, described by a Dell booth representative as a "pre-production model," wasn't even plugged in. About all that could be gathered from the spare description card above the wide-open machine is that it features an embedded ESX server 3i from VMware and the aforementioned quad-core x86 chip from Advanced Micro Devices. Both of those brand-new products were launched Monday by their respective vendors.

Also on the description card were the unverifiable claims that the unnamed server features "2x memory and I/O of traditional two-socket systems" and "can migrate VMs within 2 mins. of boot."

The booth rep, after some frustrating cell phone back-and-forth with a higher-up, regretfully informed a ChannelWeb photographer that no photos of the publicly displayed box were possible. The server Dell eventually ships might not look like the VMworld display model and Dell wanted to avoid misleading its customers with a wrong visual of the product, he said. The rep did allow as to the server being built on AMD's 2300 series of quad-core chips, though the description of the Dell box as "2-socket" made that less an admission than a statement of the obvious.

Dell will ship the servers "in commercial quantities by the end of the year," he said. That roll-out schedule is in line with Hewlitt-Packard's AMD quad-core server plans. HP has said it will begin shipping AMD quad-core systems through its x86 ProLiant line beginning in Q4.

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Eventually, the rep got permission to pop out the AMD quad-core for a stand-alone photograph. The nearby display screen, which one might easily have assumed was connected to the server, didn't register the tiniest flicker.