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Dell Introduces New Storage, Server Virtualization Products

By Andy Patrizio (Send Email)
Posted Jun 9, 2010


Other IT hardware providers may be embracing the unified computing model, but Dell is not buying into it. The firm continues to argue for a best-of-breed approach that lets the customer choose what solutions they want for network, storage and computing. It just so happens Dell is offering all three. In keeping with its mantra of simplifying IT, the firm offers up new storage and server virtualization products with rapid deployment and provisioning at the heart of their design.

The company today announced a series of new EqualLogic storage products, PowerConnect networking solutions and PowerEdge blade servers plus new Dell Storage, Virtualization and Support Services, all aimed at firms looking to deploy virtualization services. Dell has already been on a bit of a hot streak thanks to renewed spending on servers and storage.

"We think the tightly coupled approach favors the vendor's wallet over the customer's wallet, over time," Matt Baker, an enterprise strategist with Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) told InternetNews.com. "The more tightly coupled a system is, the harder it is to harness the overall innovation of the industry. The open approach is one that's proven to win over time."

The company is offering a total of six Dell Business Ready Configurations, which it described as quick-to-deploy, fully integrated virtualization-ready configurations that help customers reduce the complexity in tying together their hardware systems in a virtualized environment. These bundles come preconfigured and validated to work out of the box.

The new Dell EqualLogic PS6000XVS and PS6010XVS are the first storage arrays to combine platter-based hard drives with solid-state drives (SSDs) in a single enclosure. The SSD drives are used to store "hot data," data that's being frequently accessed, while the hard disks will hold "colder," less-needed data.

These new storage arrays will greatly reduce overhead and CPU usage thanks to a new 5.0 firmware that reduces traffic considerably. In previous versions, copying a volume from one drive to another required the data to go out of the EqualLogic hardware, to the host server, and back to the new volume. Now it all stays within the EqualLogic hardware enclosure, reducing traffic, CPU and memory usage.

The 6000 and 6010 are for enterprise users. For the mid-range, Dell is introducing the PowerVault MD3200 and PowerVault MD3200i storage arrays, which offer twice the performance, host support and capacity scalability over the previous generation of products.

On the compute side, Dell is introducing two new PowerEdge blades and new one rack-mounted server. The PowerEdge M710HD blade server is a high-memory-density Intel Xeon-powered blade with failsafe, redundant embedded hypervisors and hot swappable SAS or SSD drive support. The PowerEdge M610x is the first blade from Dell to use Nvidia's Fermi class of GPUs for high-performance computing scenarios or any graphics-related processing needs.

The PowerEdge R715 is an AMD-based 2U server with two 12-core Opterons and a large memory footprint for dense virtualization scenarios or workload consolidation.

Dell is also shipping a new M1000e chassis with power-efficient power supplies, efficient fans and chassis management tools. The chassis comes with the new Chassis Management Controller 3.0, which lets administrators manage the contents of the whole chassis as one unit, so a firmware update can be pushed out to every blade at once.

Thanks to an OEM agreement with Juniper Networks, Dell is also introducing the PowerConnect-J series of switches and routers. The PowerConnect J-Series EX8200 family are chassis-mounted switches for large enterprise customers, while the PowerConnect J-Series EX4200 family is geared at midsized customers. Meanwhile, the newly unveiled PowerConnect J-Series SRX family are security products designed to provide firewall and virtual private network (VPN) security.

Dell is also offering Brocade products, beginning with the PowerConnect B-Series RX-16, a 16-slot, modular 10GbE chassis.

Finally, there is the Dell PowerConnect 8024 Ethernet switch, a 24-port 10GBASE-T and switch with Layer 3 routing for data center, aggregation and unified fabric deployments.

Dell also unveiled a number of new support services designed to help customers handle their growing needs in the data center. The Data Management Consulting Services for EqualLogic will help customers with the integration of the EqualLogic PS series into their data center and enable customers to get the most out of their SAN, while new ProSupport Proactive Maintenance for EqualLogic is designed to help customers avoid problems before they occur.

The company's third new service is Dell Virtualization Consulting, which will help with consolidation, virtualization and automation in a virtualized environment.

Even though Dell doesn't like converged systems, it's still offering something very similar, though it feels the lineup is more open to letting customer pick products from competitors if they chose.

"We can offer that converged infrastructure and resource management capability without vendor lock-in and with a lot more flexibility today and over time," Baker said. "We are optimizing our systems around virtualization. A lot of the work we're doing around virtualization is to move from 20 percent utilization to 80 to 90 percent utilization."

The new EqualLogic PS6000/6010 storage devices will be available in early August, but the 5.0 firmware is available immediately for no charge to existing EqualLogic customers. The MD3200 will be available next week. The servers will be available in July, along with the PowerConnect-J series. The Dell PowerConnect B-RX16 will be available in early August.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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