Dell EMC PowerEdge R6515 Server Review

November 22, 2022 0 By Lorena Mejia

The Dell EMC PowerEdge R6515 server was released a few short years ago offering a 1U form factor with a few hybrid storage conditions for SFF or LFF form factors (SHOP HERE). It features a single AMD EPYC CPU, can be configured with up to 3TB of memory, plus a few other Dell-centric bits like the optional BOSS and IDSDM.

This platform is designed to work with a single 2nd or 3rd generation AMD EPYC processor. The compact design at 1U means you can probably squeeze this sucker in just about anywhere. With only a single CPU it’s also designed to provide a reduced total cost of ownership because, let’s face facts, CPUs are expensive! It’s designed for virtualization, hyper-converged infrastructures, and for network functions virtualization. If you are wondering what that new phrase is, network functions virtualization, it means the network functions have been abstracted. Things that used to live on a separate appliance, like the firewall or data encryption, can now be moved to a virtual server reducing the need for additional hardware and equipment. 

There are a few options for storage on the front of the system. A 3.5-inch chassis with 4x storage bays supporting SAS or SATA storage devices. A 2.5-inch SFF design with either 8x SAS/SATA drives plus the option for 2x NVMe drives in the media bay or a 10-bay version that supports 10x 2.5-inch NVMe storage devices but only PCIe 3.0. Of course, if you do install SAS drives a discrete HBA/RAID controller is required and can offer data transmission rates of 12Gb/s for SAS and 6Gb/s for SATA storage devices.

All drive configurations support hot-plus drives but there are two different ways to do it. An orderly removal is when you tell the system you’re going to remove the drives. The Surprise removal or insertion, is just that, no warning and only supported on certain operating systems. The 3.5-inch bay chassis and the 8-bay 2.5-inch chassis also have an optional optical drive above drive bay 1. 

The left control panel has a bank of status LED indicators for drive status, temperature, electrical, memory, and PCIe, plus a system health and system ID button LED. Depending on the chassis configuration, the status button ID indicator may be paired with integrated Dell Remote Access Controller, quick sync 2 wireless indicator. The optional Quick Sync 2 enables administrators to quickly connect to the system using the OpenManage mobile app from a smart phone or tablet for at chassis management of the system over blue tooth. It can provide aggregate hardware and firmware inventory plus a range of other features.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R6515 server front LEDs

It’s a slick little option. Depending on your chassis configuration there is also a VGA port to connect a display. On the right, there’s the power ON button USB port, plus an iDRACDirect LED indictor and a Micro-AB USB iDRAC Direct port. Using either the USB or micro-USB port. You can connect a laptop or tablet physically to the system or use the optional QuickSync feature to do the same thing wirelessly.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R6515 front ports

On the back of the system, there are two 550W Platinum PSUs, PCIe slots, numbers 2 and 3, plus an optional LOM card slot offering additional port and connection speeds for network communications.

There are two more integrated Ethernet slots just to the right providing network connectivity, a dedicated iDRAC port for remote management of the system and two USB 3.0 ports below that. Next a serial port and VGA port, plus a system status indicator and a system identification button, which also acts as an iDRAC reset button.  

Dell EMC PowerEdge R6515 rear ports

Once the cover is removed, you can see a dense layout all shoehorned into that 1U chassis. There are two low-profile risers at the rear, with a dedicated slot for a mini PowerEdge RAID controller right next to Riser 1A. Our unit is outfitted with the Mini PERC HBA 330 Gen9 edition offering SAS support at 12Gb/s with Non-RAID or Passthrough mode. You will need that mini-PERC card, or one like it, if you plan on running SAS drives or if you want more RAID options for your storage than that provided by the Software based S150 SATA RAID controller. 

If you want quick startup, then you do have the option to install a BOSS, AKA a boot optimized subsystem, in one of the PCIe slots. This unit offers dual slots for M.2 drives. With both drives installed it offers hardware redundancy in the event one of them dies. This system also has a 25Gb SFP28 Dual Port Full Height PCIe-based Network Card offering superfast network communications. Maybe not 200Gb/s but still much faster than the integrated 1GbE ports.

Just in front of the PCIe risers is the CPU with 8x memory module slots to either side for a total of 16 slots. As mentioned, the processor supported is a 2nd or 3rd generation AMD EPYC series processor. And with support for the 3rd generation Milan processors, Administrators also have the option of installing one of the Milan X processors offering 3D v-Cache technology with triple the cache at 768MB of L3 cache compared to only 256MB on Milan without the “X”. Both are compatible with the same socket, so good to go.

Milan X CPUs are specifically designed for technical computing workloads like Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Electronic Design Automation (EDA), and Finite Element Analysis (FEA). Workloads that require intense computing power. There are currently only 4 options available offering core counts of 16, 24, 32, and 64. 

A bank of 6x fans separates the backplane and storage from the motherboard. The backplane is what determines the type of drives supported on the system. We have the 10-bay 2.5-inch chassis, which offers a hybrid backplane with 5x NVMe storage connectors. Each of the 5x connectors connects 2 up front drive bays to the system board. You also have the option to connect SAS or SATA drives using the SAS/SATA cable connectors.

The 4-bay 3.5-inch chassis and the 8-bay 2.5-inch chassis each have a backplane that is only compatible with SAS or SATA drive formats. 

So, there you have it. The Dell EMC PowerEdge R6515 server offers up to 64 cores of compute power with just a single processor, and PCIe 4.0 for enhanced I/O and NVMe storage support. With a multitude of applications supported by this system, the 1U form factor makes it an easy fit in your existing network.  

If you have any questions about this server, or any other server, contact us at 1-800-237-0402 or visit our website. Can’t find what you need? Give us a call!