Dell Expands Data Center Push With New Systems, Services

As Dell World 2015 gets underway, the vendor unveils the first systems from its new Datacenter Scalable Solutions business.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Dell officials are launching a broad array of data center resources aimed at helping enterprises running large-scale data centers to more quickly scale their infrastructures to meet the changing demands of an increasingly digital world brought on by such trends as cloud computing and big data.

Among the offerings announced Oct. 20 on the first day of the Dell World 2015 show here were the initial systems from the company's Datacenter Scalable Solutions (DSS) business, which was first introduced in August.

The DSS unit comes more than eight years after Dell launched the Data Center Solution (DCS) business, which makes customized and optimized infrastructure solutions aimed at the dozen or so organizations that comprise the hyperscale computing market, such as Google, Facebook, eBay, Baidu and Alibaba. These cloud-based companies want systems that can rapid-scale and are high performing and highly energy-efficient, and are optimized to run their workloads.

It's part of a larger effort to make Dell a premiere enterprise IT solutions and services provider that can compete with the likes of Hewlett-Packard and IBM. The company hopes to accelerate that transformation next year when it is scheduled to close its controversial $67 billion acquisition of EMC.

With DSS, Dell is targeting the next level down from the top-tier cloud providers, large scale-out companies like telecommunications organizations, hosting companies, oil-and-gas firms and research organizations that have the same needs as the larger players for scalable infrastructure that is optimized to run their applications, but don't have the same financial or engineering resources.

Through DSS, these companies can get semi-custom systems that, while not unique, are differentiated from the traditional x86 PowerEdge systems that Dell sells to enterprises. These systems will come with technologies that fit their particular needs, according to Dell officials.

It's an attractive market, Jyeh Gan, director of product management and strategy with DCS, told eWEEK in August. The scale-out market is growing three times faster than the traditional x86 server space—at about 14 percent a year—and represents about a $6 billion total addressable market. In 2013, it represented about 17 percent of the overall x86 server market, a number that will grow to 25 percent by 2017, Gan said.

Among the first of the DSS-branded systems is the DSS 7000, a dense storage server that officials said is built to handle the demands that will come with exascale computing over the next several years. It's based on the DCS XA90, a massive, dense storage server that came out of the Datacenter Scalable Solutions business a year ago and can hold as much as 720TB in a 4U (7-inch) chassis.

The DSS can hold the same amount of data in a 4U chassis, and can hold up to 90 3.5-inch drives and two two-socket server nodes, all of which can drive down the dollar-per-gigabyte cost for object and block storage, officials said.

Dell also is introducing the DSS 1500, 1510 and 2500 1U (1.25-inch) 2U (3.5-inch) servers. The systems, powered by Intel's Xeon chips, include flexible storage and interconnect capabilities, as well as industry-standard baseboard management controller (BMC) systems management.

All of the new DSS systems are available now.

Dell also is launching other new high-end storage offerings, including the Dell Storage Center 9000 storage array controller. The controller is based on Dell's 13th-generation PowerEdge server platform, and offers a choice of configurations that include all-flash and hybrid-flash storage. According to Dell officials, it delivers 40 percent more IOPS (input/output operations per second) and more than twice the throughputs than previous arrays in the SC product family, and offers more than three petabytes of capacity per array.