Dell Blade Servers Are Here

The new blade servers were delivered this morning (10 of them). Hopefully should get the chassis tomorrow (it shipped separately), and the new switch and load balancers later in the week.

Wiggly (one of my cats) is terrified of change, and now he won’t leave my office because there are big boxes in the hallway. heh


I just remembered the chassis runs at 220V instead of 120V. I know that’s fine for the data center, but I just realized I don’t have 220V in my place to configure them (maybe my drier or stove is 220V… I better check).

16 thoughts on “Dell Blade Servers Are Here”

  1. Why did you buy Dell servers? HP Blades are much better if you have to go namebrand… Don’t kill yourself hooking up to the main in your house.

  2. Agreed… the HP blades are much nicer (plus they offer Opteron processors). In reality the Dell blades were my 3rd choice. The 2nd being the HP stuff, and the 1st choice being Sun’s Netra CT900 platform:

    Ultimately it came down to price though. Dell gave a good enough deal that it was roughly half the cost of the HP stuff, and the Sun stuff… well, it’s nice, but it’s terribly expensive.

  3. You likely do have 220Vac most houses are run in a 3-wire edison setup (120 on either side of the neutral conductor). It would be a simple matter for an electrican to add a 240V circuit as along as you panel has enough spare capacity for the extra load. Otherwise they may have to add a sub-panel for it, still relitively simple to do.

  4. Yeah… I checked and I have two 40 amp 220V circuits in my place (one to the drier and one to the oven/stove). The blade chassis, with 10 loaded blades at 100% CPU utilization will draw 22 amps at 220V, so I should be good to go.

    Now I just need to wait for the chassis to get here (hopefully tomorrow) to see what kind of 220V plug it takes. I’m hoping I can get an extension cord from the drier to the office while I configure them. Otherwise I’ll have a blade chassis sitting on my drier for a few days. 🙂

  5. Hey Shawn,

    We love those Dells. Have too many to count in datacenters all over the world. We sometimes (rarely) configure them at our office, and the power requirements you mentioned are overrated, they won’t draw that even with dual SCSIs in each. We have a custom server room in our office, just for configuring machines before shipping out to a real POP, but we hadn’t thought about 220v equipment. We DID think about extreme power demands, so we deliberately brought into the room two separate 30 amp 220v circuits for the room’s panel, broken into four 30 amp 110v circuits for the wall jacks. Circuits C and D feed two APC 30 amp strips for a pair of racks, while circuits A and B run to the wall outlets. Each outlet in the server room is wired with top jack from Circuit A, bottom from Circuit B. This means we can take the 110 from any top/bottom pair, and reconstitute 220v.

    Don’t try this at home… well, okay, it only makes sense to try this at home since if you weren’t at home, you’d have nice 220v power…

    If you know for 100% sure that you have 110 circuits conveniently located to where you want to work on the chassis, circuits that are on different legs of the 220v service to your place, you can bond these 110 circuits together into a 220v outlet using an extension cable you make from about $19 of Home Depot parts.

    Get a pair of Home Depot 110 heavy duty cables with the bare wires at one end and grounded plugs at the other ($7 ea), and get the giant 220v socket w/ plastic sleeve ($5), then attach both cables into the 220v socket.

    You want the 110v hot (black) wire from each 110v plug to go to the 220v hot and hot connections, the 110v neutrals (white) to go to the 220v neutral, and the grounds (copper) to go the ground. Plug in your 110v plugs to your different leg 110v circuits, and check the voltage at your 220v socket end of the new extension cable you made. Hot to hot should read 220, either hot to neutral should read 110, and either hot to ground should read 110. Neutral to ground should read 0.

    The Dell chassis should ship with a 1 x 220v plug and 4x 220v outlet strip, that you then plug the chassis power supplies into. Plug that to this cable, then your chassis to that.

    If you’d like a photo or a diagram of what I’m trying to describe, email me at the unpublished address you can see.

    Best luck,

  6. Hmmmm… well, once i get the chassis and see what power connector I need, I’ll probably just try to get an extension cord for it from the drier plug. That seems easier than trying to rewire my place and accidentally burning it down. 🙂

  7. It won’t be the same plug.

    In a data center, you’ll have 240VAC. For a 30A circuit, you’ll most likely have a NEMA L6-30R twist-lock receptacle (L6-30P plug).

    At home for a dryer, you’ll have 220-240VAC, usually about 15A max… Depending on how old the house/appliance is, you’ll either have a 3 or 4-wire dryer plug (can’t find the NEMA number for it…if there is one).

    But it’s the same stuff (except for niceties like ripple smoothing, etc).. The chassis can probably handle 208-250VAC, 50 or 60Hz. You just have to figure out how to plug it all in…

    Any electrical supply shop will sell a L6-30R and you can get the dryer plug at Home Despot, if not at the same supply shop.. There’s no magic to the wiring, just remember that if it ain’t ground, it’s HOT. Make sure the ground is wired correctly, but the other two are interchangeable. Turn off the breaker first. 🙂

    Good luck. When you’re done with the temporary power cord, cut off the L6 (it’s worth $20 or so), and jam the bare wires down the throat of the MPAA lawyers for us, ok? Plug it in, or not, as you see fit.

  8. @MST3K: Heh. Yeah, that’d work too.. Emphasis on “different legs”…and an explanation of how to check might be important…!

    But I wouldn’t have even attempted to explain that in paragraph form! You are braver than I, sir.

  9. Okay, I reread MST3K’s instructions, and it doesn’t seem terribly difficult. Although I bet every room is wired to a different 110V circuit, so I don’t think it would work, unless I pulled power from two different rooms.

  10. Don’t do it. 🙂

    Not only would the 110s need to be on different circuits, they also need to be opposite phase.

    (IF you insist, that means vertically adjacent in your distribution panel, not horizontally!)

  11. Dell routinely visits online communities to reach out to our customers. In doing so, we have identified you as a customer who recently made a purchase. We would like to help resolve any questions or concerns you may have with your new Dell. If you require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.


  12. Just a note on the comment about the 120 V wires on each side of the ground – the two 120’s are 120 degreest apart on the generator, not precisely 180 degrees oposite in phase, so you will not get 240 volts out of them. 2:1 transformers are cheap and available everywhere!

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