I did not usually go to “Elite” servers on Dell web site but looking at customers system today I went to check Dell Poweredge R900. This monster takes up to 4 Quad Core CPUs and has 32 memory slots, which allows to get 128GB of memory with 4GB of memory chips. This means upgrade to default configuration to 128GB of memory will cost you just $9600 (list price). I’ve been able to configure on a web the system with 8*2.5″ hard drives RAID and 2 CPUs (just as we usually configure PowerEdge 2950) with 128GB of RAM for about $16000. This means talking to Dell Sales rep it can purchases within $15000. This may sounds as a lot but if you’re memory constrained it is cheaper per GB than buying 32GB box for $6000
So am I scale-up advocate ? No. But it is quite frequently systems are designed to have “working set to fit in memory” to perform well and such systems can avoid good consolidation factor for such application, or would allow them to delay sharding.
This box also has 4 CPU sockets which means 16 fast cores and 128GB of memory becomes commodity – Quite a challenge for MySQL to take 🙂
I have not had a chance to play with such box myself besides couple of customer production installations but it looks pretty sweet.