Dell Takes Guesswork Out of Data Center Design

Dell’s Active System Manager ties together network switches and other data-center elements.

Little more than a month after Dell rolled out its standards-based Active Infrastructure offering, the company has released a set of reference architectures tailored to specific workloads. Active Infrastructure is a crucial part of Dell’s much broader converged infrastructure initiative, which aims to bind various data-center technologies into an interoperable “stack.”

Dell also said it plans to tap into technologies acquired from Gale Technologies, including the ability to rapidly provision workloads, to improve the Active Infrastructure products.

The new reference designs are Dell’s recommended configurations for specific workloads, based on Dell’s own assessment of its hardware’s capabilities and what it believes the workload’s requirements to be. They include reference architectures for Microsoft Exchange 2010, Microsoft Sharepoint 2010, and Microsoft Lync 2010. Dell also announced a DVS Enterprise Active System 800 with reference architectures for both Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View. With the exception of the VMware reference architecture, all are available now.

Dell launched the new reference architectures at Dell World conference in Austin, Tex., where the company offered a look at some of its future plans for data center. (Unfortunately, one of the Dell World panels on “the future of the data center” was described as one attendee as “horrific,” and scripted to the point of irrelevance.)

Dell’s Active Infrastructure includes the company’s PowerEdge M1000e chassis and 12th generation blade server, Dell Compellent or EqualLogic storage (including the EqualLogic blade array), and a new plug-and-play blade I/O module, the PowerEdge M I/O aggregator.

The first model in the Active Infrastructure line is the Active System 800, which combines Dell’s iSCSI-accessible EqualLogic PS-6110 arrays, PowerEdge M620 servers, and new PowerEdge I/O Aggregator and Dell Force10 S4810 network switches, tied together via the Active System Manager. The Active System 800 and Active System Manager are currently available in the U.S. and will be available globally in February 2013; other Active Infrastructure designs will be available in the second half of 2013.

Dell also said that it had made improvements to its PowerEdge line of servers, specifically the OpenManage systems that govern them. The new, simplified version of the software reportedly cuts 25 percent off management time, enhances automation capabilities, and adds SupportAssist, a technology that automatically zips troubleshooting info to Dell’s support staff.

On the storage front, Dell will make available next year an EqualLogic driver for Crowbar, the open source software framework developed by the company to enable Dell storage with OpenStack clouds.

 

Image: Dell

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