This post is for all those who love Dell.

I love them too.because they keep me in business on the side where I do odd jobs to repair, restore, or recover data lost on them!

Anyway if you are actually wanting to do a comparison of Dell vs IBM consider this to be the place to get your information. When looking at the Dell machines it is important to not get hypnotized by the low "teaser" prices that always reflect a stripped down model. YOU need to be knowledgeable enough to know what options you need so that the server you buy will do the job you need done. This isn't always a simple thing to do. You need to know CPU speeds and feeds, what memory configuration is the right one for performance, what raid level you need for the correct number of iops and for the protection of your data. You also need to know about building a balanced system so that you are not over loading the cpu, memory, disk, i/o, or even the fsb.

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You see many of Dells teaser models do not come with the standard components that many of the IBM servers come with. For example: RAID controllers (RAID 0 and 1), a CD-RW/DVD drive, an advanced management processor, rack rails, as well as hot swap redundant power and fans. Of course this list doesn't include the items that are not even offered in the line.

Dell stresses that their PowerEdge servers deliver high levels of reliability.and uptime.that meet the needs of "industry-standard server customers". This is Dell secret code for anyone who is looking for the absolute cheapest server made with no thought given to performance or stability. The vast majority of companies today who use Dell servers do in fact have servers that have features such as hot-plug hard drives, RAID levels of some sort, ECC and spare-bank memory. When looking at the marketing material from Dell it is often easy to overlook the fact that Dell's marketing machine uses words such as TCO, TCA, "next generation" ROI, high availability, resiliency, savings, etc to give the impression that they are the way to go. I can not stress enough that this is a big mistake. Please make sure that you know what you need before you go down the Dell path!

If you take a casual look at the IBM product line you will see that IBM doesn't just go out and buy Intel or AMD parts and slap them in a package and hope that software vendors can provide a way of managing the finished product. IBM engineers in Raleigh have been steadily putting in their IBM Stealth Black boxes many mainframe inspired pieces of technology. Items such as Enhanced Predictive Failure Analysis (EPFA), Light-Path Diagnostics, memory resiliency, advanced remote-management capabilities, embedded RAID controllers, hardware based data encryption, and a free management solution that is hands-down one of the most amazing products I have used.

In terms of systems management IBM and Dell are like the old Levi Jeans tag where two horses we're hitched to a pair of Levi Red Tag jeans and each pulling in opposite directions. Dell has established an framework where they expect third-party vendors such as Microsoft and Altiris to supply key pieces of the solution. In contrast IBM has the IBM Systems Director Management software that it supplies free with each IBM server. IBM Systems Director is a product that can run standalone or can be used to add increased value to third party management products if your company is already using them. If not IBM Systems Director is absolutely a must do project for your data center. The main problem with Dell's approach to systems management is it's general lack of potential and the inadequate amount of integration between modules. In Dell's management solution when something does go wrong you have an extremely difficult time trying to identify the module and responsible party. In comparison IBM Systems Director and all of it's components are totally owned, architecture, and engineered by IBM. This ownership allows all of the components to be tightly integrated and tested before deploying. In Dell's case a standard patch from one of their third party products could yield your management system totally down. IBM Systems Director out of the DVDCD sleeve will allow you to preform miracles in your server environment that you never thought we're possible before. When combined with VMWare Virtual Center you will be able to extend VMWares HA to the point to where you never experience any downtime. Additionally as I said above IBM Systems Director can be extended to work up or down link with with any of the following products if you already have them installed.but they are by no means a requirement:

Tivoli, Microsoft Systems Center Operations Manager, OpenView, BMC Performance Manager, and CA NSM

Bottom line is that Dell doesn't offer anything unique in it's systems management approach.

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