In the week leading up to VMworld, Dell is launching new virtualization, storage and server systems that look to expand Dell's reach into the virtualized data center. In addition to new Dell PowerEdge M905 and M805 blade servers and PS5500E storage array, Dell is offering expanded support for Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and VMware ESX.
Dell is rolling out an assortment of virtualization offerings, along with
new server and storage systems, that the PC vendor believes will boost its
ability to offer hardware, software and services for the virtualized data
Dell is launching its new virtualization initiative Sept. 10, just a few
days before the start of the 2008 VMworld conference in Las
Vegas, which promises to offer a showcase of where the
technology of virtualization will head in the next year.
For Dell, the new offerings include a pair of blades-the two-socket PowerEdge M805
and the four-socket PowerEdge M905-which are based on Advanced Micro Devices
processors and offer additional memory to support virtual machines. The M805
has 16 DIMMs (dual in-line memory modules), while the M905 offers 24 DIMM
slots. Dell also plans to roll out a third system-the PowerEdge R900-a four-socket
server that will offer Intel's
upcoming six-core Dunnington processor
and embedded hypervisors.
Dell noted that the PowerEdge M805 and the M905 are now optimized for
virtualization and this will put the hardware in direct competition with
Hewlett-Packard, the leading producer of blades, and IBM.
HP and IBM already launched new virtualization optimized blades earlier this
On the storage side, Dell
is rolling out a new piece of hardware to add to its EqualLogic line of iSCSI
SAN (storage area network) arrays.
The 4U (7-inch) PS5500E is for large
SANs and holds up to 48 SATA (Serial ATA); each system can hold between 24TB
and 48TB of data storage.
While the new server and storage hardware products are noteworthy, Dell is
hoping to use those offerings as a backbone for a more comprehensive
virtualization offering. In addition to the 3.5 version of the VMware ESX
hypervisor and the 5.0 version of the Citrix XenServer product, Dell is also
offering full support and services built around Microsoft's Hyper-V.
outlined some new features for Hyper-V earlier this week
, including a new
relationship with Sun Microsystems.
In looking to integrate its EqualLogic iSCSI storage arrays with virtualization,
Dell is supporting the virtual machine snapshot features found in both with
VMware and Citrix virtualization suites with new storage arrays. This
combination of virtual machine management and storage should make it easier to
protect and store data that is moving within a virtual environment.
"One of the points of this is how to seamlessly protect the data you are
generating and savings in those environments, and the issue of how you relate
specific storage to virtual servers, which is not an easy task," said Charles
King, an analyst with Pund-IT Research. "What Dell is doing is developing
products for those specific tasks, and it also goes along with the concept of
expanded choice that Dell is using. The fact that Dell is supporting both
VMware and Citrix snapshot solutions on the newer array reinforces that as
Finally, Dell is also partnering with some smaller virtualization companies
to fill in the various pieces needed to maintain and control these types of
virtual environments within the data center.
In addition to storage, Dell is expanding its ability to offer life cycle
management for virtual environments with help from companies such as Vizioncore
and its vFoglight-formally
which provides virtual machine performance monitoring. Dell is also offering to
support PlateSpin products such as PowerRecon, which gives users the analytical
tools needed to analyze their current data center setup and determine which
servers can be phased out and which workloads can best be moved onto virtual