Dell Unveils Servers, Storage for SMBs

Dell officials say the company's new servers, storage and networking devices will enable SMBs to start updating aging IT infrastructures.

Dell is bringing out new servers, storage and networking technology designed to help small and midsize businesses more easily upgrade their aging infrastructures.

The new offerings, announced Sept. 16, will help smaller businesses that continue to struggle with limited or no IT staffs, tight budgets and the impact of the worldwide recession, according to Dell officials. The company said the products will help SMBs get the updated technology they need at a price that will allow for a faster ROI.

That's a key consideration for smaller companies, Jim Browning, a Gartner analyst, said during a Dell-hosted Webcast announcing the new offering.

What's important is "uptime and availability," John Jordan, president of BusinesSuites, a Dell customer, said during the Webcast. "When you're talking about networks or servers or storage, it's all about uptime and productivity."

The SMB market is an important one for Dell and other vendors, Browning said. Gartner has estimated that SMBs will spend about $856 billion on IT worldwide in 2010, a jump of 5.3 percent over last year. By 2014, that number will grow to more than $1 trillion, Gartner's Browning said.

To Jordan, that money will be well-spent, given the computing capabilities he will be able to get in return.

"This is a great time to be investing because we'll be able to have performance that we couldn't have a few years ago, [and] at very reasonable prices," he said.

Dell unveiled the PowerEdge R415 and R515, a pair of servers powered by Opteron 4100 processors from Advanced Micro Devices and designed to bring enterprise-level capabilities to SMBs while being easy to afford and manage, according to Brian Payne, director of server product management at Dell.

The company is including its Server Deployment Pack, Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager and Lifecycle Controller with the servers to make deploying and running them faster and easier, Payne said.

They also include redundant power supplies and hot-swap hard drives for better data protection.

Both systems are two-socket servers. The 1U (1.75-inch) PowerEdge R415 is designed for applications such as file/print, e-mail, small virtualization deployments and IT infrastructure. The 2U (3.5-inch) R515 is for businesses that want to consolidate and virtualize part of their infrastructures, Payne said.

The R515 can deliver up to 25TB of internal storage, good for such tasks as databases, workload consolidation and virtualization, he said.

Both servers will be available Oct. 11.

In addition to the new PowerEdge systems, Dell also unveiled the PowerVault NX200 NAS (network-attached storage) tower. The system, which offers 2GB of memory, will enable SMBs that may have used PCs for data storage to have simple file storage on a centralized server, Payne said.

And Dell's PowerConnect W-Series wireless network solutions let SMBs manage thousands of wireless access points from a single console, he said, making it easier for customers and employees to connect to the network wirelessly.

The offering also can be integrated into existing networks, allowing businesses to deploy it more easily and to avoid downtime.