Dell’s Converged Data Center Products Challenge HP, IBM, Cisco

Dell used its annual storage conference in Boston to announce a set of new products designed to help the company maintain market-share in the data center, where it faces significant competition from other major vendors such as Hewlett-Packard.

Specifically, Dell used the event to highlight its attempts to converge the data center. The company’s Dell EqualLogic PS-M4110 Blade Arrays, which merge Dell 11th and 12th generation PowerEdge blade servers with Dell Force10 or PowerConnect networking switches, are meant to run data centers via a single blade enclosure. They are designed to support virtualized environments, and Dell claims multiple units can be configured in less than an hour.

Users can store up to 14 terabytes per EqualLogic PS-M4110 Blade Array, and up to 56 terabytes on two groups within a single blade chassis; in addition, Dell has developed a suite of centralized monitoring and reporting tools for array performance and alerts—that’s in addition to advanced data protection and integration with Microsoft, VMware and Linux platforms.

Dell is also offering a Converged Blade Data Center solution, which consolidates a 10GbE data center within a Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade chassis.

Dell claims its data center customers can use the new technology to support up to 48 percent more Microsoft SQL, Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint users, as well as 42 more users per watt of power, compared to competitors.

Dell’s new data center product include a significant cloud component, including vStart 1000 for Dell Private Cloud, which includes the first Dell Compellent storage and Dell Force10 networking-based vStart solution; combined, these tools can apparently help an organization set up private-cloud infrastructure. The vStart systems include a combination of servers, storage and tools for setting up virtualized IT environments.

Those competitors have robust offerings of their own, with Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and IBM all offering some variant on the converged data center. Cisco, for example, offers a Unified Computing and Servers platform that combines networking, virtualization, and storage. Meanwhile, IBM touts infrastructure offerings designed to offer clients converged networking. And HP has developed the BladeSystem, Matrix Operating Environment and Cloud Service Automation for Matrix, for companies looking to create both on-premises and cloud infrastructure.

Dell plans on making the EqualLogic PS-M4110 Blade Arrays, Dell Converged Blade Center solution, EqualLogic Array Software 6.0 and SAN Headquarters 2.5 available in the company’s third quarter. Dell vStart 1000 will hit the U.S. market in July, with worldwide availability later in 2012.


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