Dell Initiates Modular, Integrated Data Center Strategy

Vendor offers new storage, networking and infrastructure management solutions in pre-assembled, open architecture format.

December 15, 2009
By

D.H. Kass

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Dell Computer Inc. answered the well-publicized and far reaching data center management plans of rivals Hewlett-Packard Co. and Cisco Systems Inc., presenting a solution it said takes advantage of a customer’s existing infrastructure and accommodates mixed, multi-vendor environments.

Countering HP’s and Cisco’s outline for the data center framed on solution stacks from one vendor--the so-called single vendor strategy--Dell’s plan ties together best-of-breed servers, storage, software and management tools in pre-assembled or ready-to-assemble formats orchestrated by the vendor’s new infrastructure management tool.

The vendor is touting its modular approach as a significant selling point, promoting the result as a fast-to-deploy and responsive infrastructure able to respond to customers’ changing needs, and a viable alternative to the proprietary and vertically-integrated solution stacks offered by its adversaries.

Dell said that its Advanced Infrastructure Manager allows customers to dynamically allocate and re-allocate server, networking and storage devices for physical and virtual application workloads.

The vendor also paraded out a series of 10-Gigabit Ethernet storage and networking solutions, pointing out that its research indicates 10GbE architecture can decrease networking acquisition costs by 50 percent.

“Our competitors are trying to take short cuts by providing proprietary stacks that create lock in and really only benefit the vendor,” said Praveen Asthana, Dell enterprise storage and networking vice president.

“We provide a dynamically configurable offering that is really easy to set up or use because it comes pre-assembled or ready for assembly based on proven reference architectures yet it remains fully open and works with a customer’s existing infrastructure,” Asthana said.

“This way we maintain customer choice and remain pragmatic,” he said.

An analyst with researcher International Data Corp. called Dell’s data center approach “practical” and well-suited for large organizations.

“Today’s new compute fabrics must be flexible with modular components that are easily managed and that can adjust and change with the demands of the environment,” said Matt Eastwood, group vice president of IDC’s enterprise platform group.

Dell has lined up data center technology solutions, dubbed Business Ready Configurations (BRC), comprised of server, storage and networking technologies, and offered in standard and redundant editions.

The initial BRC, prepped for release in the first quarter of 2010, includes two Dell PowerEdge M610 blade servers running the Infrastructure Manager, an EqualLogic PS6000 iSCSI storage area network, two PowerConnect 6220M blade switches and a 24-port Brocade Foundry 424 or Dell PowerConnect 6224 networking switch.

The configuration comes with a performance characterization, best practice and networking guide.

Dell’s Lifecycle Controller version 1.3 is an embedded management solution available on 11th generation PowerEdge services and is designed to facilitate deployment and maintenance. It is available immediately for download.

New 10GbE united fabric solutions

The vendor’s new 10GbE Efficient United Fabric solutions include adding 10GbE controllers to its EqualLogic PS6000 series storage arrays, called the PS6010 and PS6510. The 10GbE EqualLogic arrays can provide a high level of performance for business applications such as Oracle Corp.’s and Microsoft Corp.’s SQL database applications, streaming video and bandwidth-intensive workloads.

The PS6010 is available globally now and the PS6510 will be available worldwide in mid-January 2010.

Dell also announced the EqualLogic PS6500X and version 4.3 of the EqualLogic firmware that together increase the capacity of the EqualLogic PS series. The PS6500X is available now.

The vendor also upped its exiting ProConsult Storage Consolidation services to help customers to understand the potential of consolidation, select and design the right technology, integrate technologies and achieve the proper level of performance and data protection. The services are available now.

In addition, Dell rolled out its first 10 GbE switch, the Dell PowerConnect 8024F, designed for data center aggregation and network consolidation, and its first Converged Network Adapter for its PowerEdge servers, based on QLogic technology. The switch is available immediately and the CNA card will be available at the end of this month.

Dell, through its expanded relationship with Brocade, introduced PowerConnect-B series switches, available globally in mid-February 2010.

TAGS: networking,Dell,data center,infrastructure,Storage



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