Investigating Network Performance on Edge Servers from Dell Technologies

Prowess Consulting benchmarking tests on Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers demonstrate the servers’ performance for network workloads at the edge and for telecommunications

Moving networks to the edge—that is, as close to the point of request as possible—can provide many benefits to organizations in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, telecommunications (telco), and other industries. When these businesses offer apps and services at the edge, they can reduce application latency, improve operations, and enhance the customer experience.

Choosing the right servers for edge networking is a key decision for IT administrators. For this reason, Prowess engineers looked at two rugged rack-mount servers built for edge deployments: Dell™ PowerEdge™ XR11 (1U) and Dell PowerEdge XR12 (2U) servers. The Dell PowerEdge XR11 and Dell PowerEdge XR12 servers are nearly identical, but the Dell PowerEdge XR12 offers more PCIe® and NVM Express® (NVMe®) slots, providing more performance if needed.

We tested these servers, powered by 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Gold processors, first using iPerf®, an open-source, cross-platform tool that can produce standardized performance measurements for any network. Then we tested the performance of a database workload on a Dell PowerEdge XR11 VMware vSAN™ cluster of three nodes and a Dell PowerEdge XR12 vSAN cluster of three nodes.

We ran a Microsoft® SQL Server® workload on multiple virtual machines (VMs) to measure input/output operations per second (IOPS) using HammerDB, a leading benchmarking and load-testing software solution for popular databases. In addition, to see how enterprises might improve network performance using remote direct memory access (RDMA), we ran SQL Server workloads with RDMA both on and off and captured the results. Enabling RDMA allows systems to bypass the CPU and move data with lower latency and compute overhead.