How Dell EMC Is Leaning on VMware in Hyperconverged Space

NEW PRODUCTS: The company is expanding the integration of VMware technologies like Cloud Foundation and vCenter in its VxRail HCI system.

Dell EMC VxRail

Dell EMC is looking to press its advantage in the fast-growing hyperconverged infrastructure space by integrating even more VMware technologies with its VxRail offerings.

At the VMworld 2018 Europe show this week in Barcelona, Spain, the company unveiled enhancements to the VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) offerings that are designed to drive greater automation, easier management and more adoption of the solutions.

Some of the improvements come from greater integration with such VMware products as VMware vCenter, vSAN and VMware Cloud Foundation. At the same time, Dell EMC also announced improved integration of VMware vRealize Suite with its VxBlock converged infrastructure, a key part of enhancements to that product.

This comes as organizations continue to move workloads and data to multiple public and private clouds and increase their reliance on edge and distributed computing environments, according to Jon Siegal, vice president of product marketing for Dell EMC.

Pros and Cons for Hybrid Clouds

Clouds offer significant benefits in terms of cost reduction, scalability and agility, but they also can increase complexity, particularly as enterprises expand the number of clouds they use. They need to address such challenges as seamlessly managing across multiple clouds, application migration and communication across those clouds, and the visibility and security of their cloud assets.

“This is really the year when we’re seeing a multicloud strategy becoming a priority for Dell EMC customers,” Siegal said during a press conference before the opening of the show. “Every company we talk to is trying to establish a multicloud strategy.”

The announcements this week come after Dell EMC introduced an array of infrastructure, software and services enhancements through VMware integrations designed to make it easier for enterprises to adopt multicloud environments.

Organizations continue to embrace converged and hyperconverged infrastructure solutions for their digital transformation efforts, of which the cloud plays a crucial role. IDC analysts in September said that in the second quarter, revenue for the overall worldwide converged infrastructure market jumped 9.9 percent year-over-year, to $3.5 billion. HCI continues to be the fastest growing of the converged infrastructure segments, increasing 78.1 percent over last year to $1.5 billion. It now accounts for 41.2 percent of the total converged systems market, the analysts said.

Dell EMC Owns Nearly 30 Percent of HCI Market

They also listed Dell EMC as the top HCI vendor with 28.8 percent of the market, followed by Nutanix, Cisco Systems and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

“It’s clear that HCI is hot, and it’s clear that enterprise organizations are adopting HCI” in their core data centers as well as at the edge and in the cloud, Siegal said.

VMware was a key part of Dell’s more than $60 billion deal for storage giant EMC two years ago. Dell Technologies owns about 80 percent of VMware, which has continued to work with other tech vendors. At the same time, Dell EMC is increasing the integration of its systems with VMware technologies, with this week’s announcements the latest steps.

VxRail systems will soon integrate with VMware Cloud Foundation, which enables organizations to more easily run workloads in hybrid cloud environments that include both on-premises private clouds and public clouds. VMware Cloud Foundation integrates both cloud infrastructure and cloud management capabilities and also makes it simpler for organizations to extend their reach into public clouds like VMware Cloud on AWS (Amazon Web Services) and multicloud container services such as Pivotal, another Dell Technologies company.

vCenter Server Plays a Big Role

Customers also will be able to leverage VMware’s vCenter Server console to manage all VxRail tasks, Dell EMC officials said. More than 500,000 vSphere customers already standardize on vCenter Server, which means that the potential customer base for VxRail will dramatically increase.

In addition, VxRail will more tightly integrate with VMware’s latest vSAN release, support VMware Validated Design for SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center) and support its planned Project Dimension, a managed services offering for edge computing. In addition, customers can use the HCI solution with VMware’s Site Recovery for quick failover to VMware Cloud on AWS in disaster recovery situations.

However, integration with VMware technologies wasn’t the only move driving enhancements to VxRail. The HCI systems will integrate with Dell EMC’s SmartFabric Services, which are part of the company’s Networking OS10 Enterprise Edition of its networking operating system.

Through the integration, VxRail systems will include automated network awareness and configuration, cluster expansion and routine management, and the integration of SmartFabric Services with both VxRail Manager and vSphere will reduce configuration and administration by 98 percent. For organizations, that means deploying and automating data center networking fabrics will be faster and simpler.

Making It Easier to Adopt VxRail

Dell EMC officials also want to make it easier for more companies to adopt VxRail and scale their environments—including at the edge—by offering a new two-node VxRail cluster. The previous minimum was three nodes. In a similar vein, the company is offering new flexible vSAN licensing to enable users to choose the level of HCI software functionality and investment they want.

In the converged infrastructure space, Dell EMC is bringing the VxBlock 1000 to its Cloud Marketplace with greater software automation and integration with the VMware vRealize Suite. Among other things, this will enable users to grow resources in minutes rather than hours. The company also is introducing VxBlock Central software that includes a single interface for gaining real-time system information and an integrated launch point to vRealize Orchestrator, which can be used to automate daily operational tasks. The VxBlock Center software also is a launch point for vRealize Operations, which gives detailed analytics of the converged system and enables easier management of the VxBlock storage capacity, officials said.

Dell EMC also is introducing new 25 Gigabit Ethernet top-of-rack switches to its S5200-ON open networking offerings. The 25GbE connectivity is needed as the traffic demand for in-rack and storage networking grows.