Dell Grows Data Center Solution with Management Software, 10GbE Solutions

Dell is building off its enhanced alliance with Brocade and its partnership with QLogic to expand its vision of the converged data center. The offerings touch on management software designed to enable easier allocation of data center resources and a unified networking fabric based on 10GbE. Dell is looking to compete with Cisco, HP and IBM in the growing converged data center market.

Dell is building out its converged data center vision with new infrastructure management software and 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to its server and storage offerings.

Dell entered the burgeoning unified data center space in September, announcing partnerships with networking vendor Brocade Communications Systems and Scalent Systems, which makes automation software.

Dell on Dec. 10 unveiled the latest steps it's taking to expand its offerings in this area as it looks to compete with the likes of Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. The vendors are pushing solutions that combine server, storage, networking and management software in single packages for greater efficiency and integration.

The companies are doing it through a combination of in-house technologies and products via partnerships.

Praveen Asthana, vice president of Dell Enterprise Storage and Networking, painted the competition's offerings as more proprietary, saying Dell's solution offers businesses greater flexibility.

"Our competitors are trying to take short cuts by providing proprietary stacks that create lock in and really only benefit the vendor," Asthana said in a statement. "Dell has a completely different vision. 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."

On the management front, Dell introduced software that enables IT administrators to quickly, efficiently and dynamically allocate data center resources, including servers, storage and networking. Advanced Infrastructure Manager integrates with existing data center environments and lets businesses easily move workloads around physical and virtual environments without having to reload or reconfigure the applications.

The vendor also is offering Business Ready Configurations that include the latest server, storage and networking technologies The configurations each come with performance characterization, best practice and networking guides. The first Business Ready Configuration comes with two PowerEdge M610 blade servers running the Infrastructure Manager, an EqualLogic PS6000 iSCSI SAN (storage area network) solution, two PowerConnect 6220M blade switches, and a 24-port Brocade Foundry 424 or Dell PowerConnect 6224 networking switch.

Version 1.3 of Dell Lifecycle Controller-an embedded management tool in 11th generation PowerEdge servers-enables users to remotely discover servers on the network, update necessary drivers and deploy operating systems anywhere.

A key part of Dell's unified data center strategy is a converged 10GbE networking fabric. Officials want to make it easier for businesses already deploying a mix of Fibre Channel and Ethernet networks to migrate to a converged fabric.

Dell is integrating 10GbE controllers to its EqualLogic PS6000 series storage arrays, enabling the PS6010 and PS6510 to deliver up to 10 times more bandwidth per port and more than two times more bandwidth per array than previous versions.

In addition, Dell is increasing the scalability of its EqualLogic PS series through its new EqualLogic PS6500X and EqualLogic Version 4.3 arrays containing the EqualLogic PS6500X with 10K SAS drives, scaling to more than 460 terabytes of capacity, up from 115.2TB previously.

Dell also is rolling out its first 1U (1.75-inch) 10GbE switch. The new PowerConnect 8024F offers 24 ports and is aimed at data center aggregation and network consolidation projects. The top-of-rack switch supports dense virtualization deployments, iSCSI storage-including Dell's EqualLogic offerings-and 10GbE traffic aggregation.

Through a partnership with QLogic, Dell is rolling out its first CAN (converged network adapter) for its PowerEdge servers. The dual-port CAN is based on QLogic technology from QLogic and offers FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) capabilities, enabling users to connect their servers and Fibre Channel-based SANs through a 10GbE fabric.

From the Brocade partnership, Dell is introducing a number of products, including its first FCoE switch.