Dell, keeping a literal open mind about all things data center, June 9 introduced a bevy of new open-standards servers, storage and networking equipment for older enterprise IT systems that might need refreshing.
The Round Rock, Texas-based hardware and software maker unveiled two new Dell EqualLogic storage arrays, two PowerVault storage arrays, two PowerEdge blade servers, a PowerEdge rack-mount server, and a new series of Juniper Networks-built PowerConnect switching/routing gateways.
A list of new storage, server, virtualization and support services also were made available for all of the above.
All the new hardware is built upon open industry standards, so it plays well with many other brands of middleware, firmware, and hardware in the data center, Dell enterprise strategist Matt Baker told eWEEK.
In its own way, Dell is placing a stake in the ground to compete with a so-called "unified" and virtualized computing system recently put out by the Cisco Systems-EMC-VMware-BMC partnership. Oracle, with its newly acquired data center hardware and software from Sun Microsystems, also has a unified computing package, although the company doesn't brand it exactly that way.
Hewlett-Packard and IBM have long had all these components -- either in their own catalogs or through myriad standing partnerships. They, too, choose not to use the "unified" moniker, staying instead with calling them "virtualized" systems.
Back to Dell. The company is also preconfiguring six of the new systems for specific vertical markets, such as health care, retail, financial services and others.
"Most of these business-ready configuration that we're releasing now are about virtual deployments, so we're really providing blueprints or reference architectures for how people will be using Dell servers, storage and networking together," Travis Vigil, a senior product manager responsible for the EqualLogic product line, told eWEEK.
Virtualization tends to complicate a lot of deployments, to say the least, so any help the parent company can offer in the way of suggested usage is most often welcomed -- especially at the mid-range market level, where a good many of Dell's customers reside.
The six Dell Business Ready Configurations bring together selected server, storage, networking, and virtualization components in pre-configured and Dell-validated bundles for fast deployments, Vigil said. These packages integrate into a customer's existing infrastructure through either the VMware ESX or Microsoft Hyper-v hypervisors.
The new Dell EqualLogic PS6000XVS and PS6010XVS storage arrays combine SAS and SSD [solid-state disk] drives inside a single enclosure to provide improved I/O and application performance. Systems using the new EqualLogic 5.0 firmware can now utilize automated data tiering within the new arrays, Vigil said.
Improvements in the Dell EqualLogic software architecture has upgraded the performance and scalability of EqualLogic storage arrays -- at no additional cost to new or existing EqualLogic customers, Vigil said. Using the new firmware, VMware infrastructures can reduce SAN network traffic for the copy process by more than 95 percent and CPU utilization for the copy process by over 75 percent, Vigil said.
The EqualLogic 5.0 firmware will support future developments of the VMware vStorage initiative, he said.
The new PowerVault MD3200 and PowerVault MD3200i storage arrays are aimed at small-to-medium-sized businesses looking for an affordable, high performance virtualization platform, Vigil said. The MD3200 series features about twice the performance, host support and capacity scalability over the previous generation, he said.