LAS VEGAS—Dell and EMC, which legally and finally joined forces last September as a privately held corporation following a full year of sorting out product lines, dropping redundant divisions and agreeing on legal fine print, are staging their first fully unified conference this week here at the Sands Expo. There were previously two Dell EMC conferences—one in Las Vegas and one in Austin—that took place while the transition was in operation and the companies were still doing separate books.
A record 13,500 attendees from 122 countries, including 310 media types and analysts from 48 countries, are at Dell EMC World here to learn about and scrutinize a flock of new products that are all ostensibly smaller, faster, easier to use and more bottom-line friendly than last year’s group.
2017 has been, and will continue to be, a pivotal year for the huge corporation—the world’s largest and most diverse full-service IT hardware and software company. This blanket statement includes IBM, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Hewlett-Packard Inc., Samsung and everybody else. Apple also does hardware and software, makes more money and has more cash in the bank than some countries, but it’s still essentially a consumer-facing company and not in the same ball game as Dell EMC.
2017 is a milestone year for the company, not only because of its monumental merger with the huge EMC universe of companies, but because it has stumbled early on in the P/L department, and CFOs get nervous when this happens. A month and a half ago, the company turned in its final public SEC earnings report, and the fiscal year numbers showed a $3.3 billion loss on $61 billion income. A lot of that is due to the costs of the merger, which were considerable. Now, however, that’s all in the past, and life in the IT fast lane continues.
There is no shortage of news to report. There were seven news items alone—themed around that ubiquitous cliché, “digital transformation”--released on the morning of May 8, Day 1 of the four-day conference. Several of these we will break out into more detail here on eWEEK. Meanwhile, here is a synopsis:
Storage: There are platform refreshes for Dell EMC’s flagship enterprise storage platform, VMAX, as well as the next generation XtremIO purpose-built all-flash array. The company also announced the next generation of Dell EMC Unity, its midrange all-flash array, and the new SC5020 midrange hybrid array, as well as Isilon scale-out NAS arrays.
There’s new support for Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th-generation servers across software-defined storage portfolio; the next version of Dell EMC ScaleIO offers new efficiencies, greater performance and simplified management.
Updates to the Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) platform include the ECS Dedicated Cloud Service, which enables hybrid deployment models for ECS, as well as ECS. It also features enhanced data protection, management and analytics capabilities.
The company is showing a preview of Project Nautilus, a new software-defined solution for storing and analyzing high volumes of streaming IoT data, enabling businesses to make real-time decisions; updates to Dell EMC IsilonSD Edge, providing simplified deployment options as well as support for virtual storage platforms ScaleIO and VMware vSAN; and new and updated Dell EMC Ready Nodes, which expand software-defined storage portfolio with pre-tested and pre-configured SDS and server solutions.
It’s all about pre-configured, turnkey and wizard-based installation and maintenance. If you’re an IT company that does not offer these fundamental features, you’re going to be disrupted by another company that does offer them.
Data Protection Appliance: Dell EMC’s Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA), a purpose-built, pre-integrated and turnkey appliance (see above) converges protection storage, software, search and analytics in a single unit. It provides data protection across a wide ecosystem of applications and platforms, and offers native cloud tiering for long-term retention. In addition, Dell EMC also rolled out new capabilities for its cloud data protection portfolio to enable customers to simply and effectively protect and back up their data anywhere, anytime, using any type of mobile device.
Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI): Dell EMC unveiled several updates to its HCI portfolio, including Dell EMC VxRail Appliances, VxRack Systems and XC Series, and new, more flexible payment models.
According to IDC, the worldwide hyper-converged system market continued its trajectory as the fastest-growing subset of the broader converged infrastructure market in 2016, surpassing U.S. $2.2 billion in global revenue, an increase of 110 percent compared to 2015.
Dell Technologies was quick to remind media people that it appears to be the fastest-growing hyper-converged system market vendor, growing revenue 206 percent in 4Q 2016 year over year, based on the unit sales of Dell EMC VxRail Appliances, VxRack Systems and the XC Series.
The Dell EMC VxRack Systems, the only rack-scale hyper-converged systems with integrated top-of-rack Spine-Leaf networking and SDN options, received updates to the VxRack portfolio of VxRack FLEX powered by ScaleIO and VxRack SDDC powered by VMware Cloud Foundation.
The Dell EMC refreshed its XC Series hyper-converged appliances that combine compute, storage and virtualization resources in turnkey, 1U and 2U appliances configured to order. XC Series appliances are best suited for customers requiring hypervisor choice, which may include Microsoft Hyper-V, and support a variety of specific use cases, ranging from typical enterprise business applications to VDI environments.
More to come on Dell EMC World, stay tuned.