Dell is set to add a new series of blade products to its PowerEdge server line. The PowerEdge M-Series of blades includes the fastest-performing and most power-efficient blade servers the company has, said Mike Roberts, senior product planning manager for Dell.

The PowerEdge M1000E, a 10U enclosure, will support the new Intel-based PowerEdge M600 and Advanced Micro Devices-based PowerEdge M605 blade servers.

The M1000E enclosure supports a range of network connectivity options, including modules for Ethernet, Fibre Channel and InfiniBand connectivity. The enclosure allows customers to upgrade or stack up on network hardware to boost networking speed.

The PowerEdge M600 blade server is a dual-socket server that supports up to two quad-core Intel Xeon processors, including processors in the Xeon 5400 series running at up to 3.16GHz. The dual-socket PowerEdge M605 servers support dual-core Opteron 2000 series processors running at up to 3GHz. Both blades support Windows Server 2003 and Linux OSes.

Dell's OpenManage systems management technology, which will be bundled with the blades, includes energy management tools. The company said that additional capabilities include real-time power reporting and the ability to set power usage by blade.

Power efficiency in blade servers is an important consideration for those looking to upgrade datacentres, said Richard Doherty, co-founder and director of Envisioneering Group. Energy costs have become a big factor in considering hardware, and companies are taking a closer look at reducing their carbon footprints, Doherty said.

"Going greener can be a reason for an upgrade," Doherty said.

The new blade server gives Dell an opportunity to catch up with HP and IBM blade products, especially in small datacentres, Doherty said. Dell's PowerEdge M-Series will compete with IBM's BladeCenter H and HP's BladeSystem c-Class blades.

In addition, the new blade servers will need strong management tools in order to succeed, Doherty said. Dell in the past has announced service and support initiatives that haven't panned out, and the company's OpenManage system management tools are not as strong as autonomic computing offerings from HP and IBM, Doherty said.

System management is a big concern for datacentres, and customers are looking for the ability to manage systems without the need for additional IT engineers, Doherty said.

The PowerEdge M1000E enclosure is priced at US$5,999, and the blades start at $1,849.