Dell Unveils New Set of Converged Storage Appliances

Dell is using some of the same high-end features found in its newest PowerEdge servers, but placing them in much denser, converged-infrastructure appliances.

Dell data center convergence

Dell is walking the walk when it comes to data center convergence. Not only is it busy converging more functionality into smaller-footprint servers and storage boxes, but it is also converging older (PowerEdge) server IT with that of new-generation storage management (Nutanix) born in the cloud.

Dell on Feb. 25 launched a new edition of its Dell XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances. These are highly scalable, integrated packages in 1U form factors that the company claims offer 50 percent more storage capacity than previous systems and up to twice the rack density. They are designed to support enterprises deploying a range of workloads, including virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI), private cloud apps, and big data storage and analytics.

As it did in its last server launch in November at Dell World, Dell is using some of the same high-end features found in its latest-generation PowerEdge servers but placing them in much denser, converged-infrastructure appliances.

Dell has been evolving this series of data center machines for quite a while, but there is a new twist. The new Dell XC Series Version 2.0 appliances are based for the first time on Dell PowerEdge 13th-generation servers combined with Nutanix software and, of course, Dell global services and support. The appliances integrate enterprise-class storage, compute and hypervisor resources into a single-station-controllable solution.

Aimed at Web-scale deployments

The Dell XC Series XC630 and XC730xd appliances feature the following enhancements, Travis Vigil, Executive Director of Product Management at Dell Storage, told eWEEK:

--Faster application performance: Higher performance servers and additional drives options (flash and hard disk) support more demanding workloads in VDI, private cloud and big data initiatives.

--Greater density: Doubling the density to 16 terabytes per rack unit, supports the same amount of data in half the rack space, benefiting all types of customers, and especially managed service providers and those in co-located data centers.

--Improved flexibility: Industry advances in processing and memory, combined with multiple drive, memory and processor options per appliance, enable more precise workload matching and granular scalability.

Smaller form factors for better data center space usage

The XC630 introduces a compact 1U form factor to the XC Series portfolio and supports more virtual desktop users in half the rack space compared to Dell's debut XC720xd, making it more functional for customers with limited rack space or those deploying VDI and other virtualized workloads.

The XC730xd (2U) can support 60 percent more storage—up to 32 terabytes—compared to the previous generation, benefiting many users, especially those deploying private cloud or big data workloads.

The entire Dell XC Series is designed to be easily deployed and incrementally scaled, Vigil said, lowering total cost of ownership and supporting the agility for customers to simply add new appliances in minutes in a "pay-as-you-grow" model. Customers can deploy multiple virtualized workloads using the same infrastructure and can easily respond to business changes by scaling their IT environment one node at time without the need to overprovision based on anticipated growth.

The appliances enable customers to manage their virtual environments at a VM level, making them suited for VDI, private cloud, high-performance server virtualization, and data centers using multiple hypervisor platforms. Initial users have come from a range of industries, including large financial services, manufacturing and media companies.

Availability and pricing

The Dell XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances, Version 2.0, will be available in North America, South America, Europe, Middle-East and Africa on March 3 and elsewhere worldwide later this March. List pricing of the XC Series overall, which starts with the XC630 (1U), is $32,000 with one year of support or $38,000 with traditional three years of support.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...