Data Centers

Dell EMC makes 6 key investments in the future of the data center and HCI

At the 2017 Dell EMC World, the company unveiled new data, storage, and server products that aim to help customers more easily jump into hyperconverged infrastructure.

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Image: iStockphoto/Vladimir_Timofeev

On Monday, at the 2017 Dell EMC World conference in Las Vegas, unveiled new efforts in servers, enterprise storage, and data protection to help customers modernize their data center and IT initiatives.

Many of the new products and services are focused on Dell EMC's goal of lowering the barrier of entry to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), which is the concept of leveraging computer and storage as a singular entity. In the past few years, numerous vendors have begun offering HCI tools, which promises some of the resource allocation and lifecycle management benefits seen in the cloud, but on premise.

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Advances in HCI have led to lower costs and greater efficiency of the infrastructure involved. At the Dell EMC World conference, the company announced new offerings in four distinct areas:

1. Flash storage

Flash storage has been around for some time, but it's only now starting to take hold of the enterprise storage market. At the conference Dell EMC announced the VMAX 950F, a new offering in its VMAX series that boasts 68% faster speeds than its next competitor. The company also announced the XtremIO X2 array, geared toward VDI and development/test workloads.

Dell EMC's Unity line also got an upgrade, with four new models offering up to 500TB of effective storage capacity. For block workloads, Dell EMC introduced the SC5020 hybrid storage option that can bring capacity up to 2PB, a press release said. The firm's next generation of its Isilon scale-out NAS systems also made an appearance, promising some 18 times the throughput of its close competitors.

In a press release, Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Mark Peters said that scale-out and flash solutions are "capable of delivering both the high performance and rich data services needed for today's demanding applications - are critical elements for any enterprise that wants to achieve IT transformation."

2. Servers

Dell EMC also introduced the 14th generation of its PowerEdge server line offering improved, integrated security, a scalable architecture, and intelligent automation through the new OpenManage Enterprise console. According to a Dell EMC press release, these new servers provide better application performance and response time, and flexible storage solutions.

"Dell continues to grow its server business as a combined company with EMC. Its Dell EMC PowerEdge portfolio addresses a broad set of customer needs from traditional business use cases to cloud-native applications while offering a strong foundation to support future IT and business needs," IDC senior vice president of infrastructure and data center, Matt Eastwood, said in the release.

3. Software-defined storage

In addition to Dell EMC's 14th generation PowerEdge servers being designed to work with software-defined-storage (SDS) environments, the company announced a new host of other SDS solutions at the conference. The Dell EMC ScaleIO for large-scale operations can help speed storage deployments. The latest version of Dell EMC's Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) offers IoT data streaming, too, and new Dell EMC Ready Nodes bring pre-tested and pre-configured SDS and server solutions to customers, the release said.

"While software-defined everything is a critical piece of IT transformation, the reality is that we're still early with regard to the ability of enterprises to consume software-only offerings," Jeff Boudreau, the president of storage for Dell EMC, said in a press release. "Offering software-defined storage offerings for on-premises and the cloud, in a variety of deployment models including ready nodes, allows us to meet customers where they are today and take them where they need to be as they transform their IT and their businesses."

4. Data protection

Data protection was also a key theme at the conference. Dell EMC debuted a new Dell EMC Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA) to boost protection on-prem. A company press release noted that the IDPA comes in four models, and protects both physical and virtual workloads, with cloud-tiering available as well.

Cloud data protection was also touched on, with the launch of Data Domain Virtual Edition (DD VE) 3.1 and a new Data Domain feature called Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery, which offers data protection in both Data Domain and AWS S3, the release said.

5. Networking

Dell EMC's new S5100-ON series switches, also announced at the conference, are the industry's first 25GbE open networking switches, a press release noted. They're also designed to work with the 14th generation PowerEdge servers, which offer native 25GbE support. Dell EMC also unveiled a new S4100-ON series of switches, optimized for use in fiber channel deployments. Finally, the energy efficient and cost-effective new N1100-ON series, designed to pair with Aerohive's HiveManager NG, will be targeted for environments like college campuses.

"By disaggregating networking system software, and by decoupling networking software from hardware platforms, companies can free themselves from the rigid, and proprietary environments of yesterday to embrace software-defined principles and unlock innovation at any scale," Tom Burns, senior vice president of networking at Dell EMC said in a press release.

Additional solutions were offered in the form of NFV Advisory Services to help companies understand the requirements and investments needed in network functions virtualization, and an IoT Technology Advisory Service—which brings consulting for the proper use of IoT data in an enterprise, a release said.

6. Flexible consumption

A host of new flexible consumption models from Dell Financial Services (DFS) also made their debut at Dell EMC World. DFS Flex on Demand provides pay-as-you-go storage consumption, while the DFS Cloud Flex for HCI provides a similar model for specific appliances, such as the VxRail Appliances and the company's XC series.

Company leaders also mentioned Dell EMC's PC as a Service and VDI Complete solutions, aiming to make end-to-end deployments easier to manage through a single vendor. Easier contract management was also promised through the firm's Transformational License Agreement (TLA), allowing customers to swap titles and exchange software, while adding additional flexibility to the contract process.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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