In keeping with its thrust toward virtualization, Dell has made a slew of announcements in this field, covering hardware, software, storage, online purchasing and increased consultancy services.
Perhaps the most interesting one is in the storage area, where virtualization tends to bog down.
Storage is “a very critical part of virtualization,” Dell’s director of storage, Praveen Asthana, told InternetNews.com., adding that calls to storage support queues “go up when we sell virtualization.”
Most storage technologies can’t handle virtualization because “they weren’t designed with virtualization in mind, and the hypervisor either creates a bottleneck or network management overhead,” Asthana said.
In this area, Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) has unveiled Dell EqualLogic storage arrays with SAN-aware
EqualLogic’s solution uses iSCSI
Because EqualLogic runs over Ethernet, “Even our customers who don’t have IT staff can deploy it out of the box,” Asthana added.
EqualLogic’s “very clever, powerful storage solution was one of the high points of the announcements,” Dan Kusnetzky, principal analyst at The Kusnetzky Group, told InternetNews.com.
Another interesting area is data center automation, where Dell has teamed up with Egenera.
The Dell PAN system, using Egenera’s PAN Manager software, is offered as a complete turn-key solution that consolidates and virtualizes server resources into a processor area network which can be managed like hard drives in a storage area network.
Built on PowerEdge 1950 and 2950 servers and using Dell/EMC storage with Citrix XenServer integrated at the factory the Dell PAN system can be quickly provisioned and re-deployed, Dell said.
“Egenera’s PAN Manager is a very powerful management tool for virtualized environments, specifically virtual servers, blade computing and the like,” Kusnetzky said.
Dell has also updated its Virtualization Advisor tool to give customers more options for building validated configurations on-line for virtualization deployments.
New servers announced are the Dell PowerEdge R805 and R905, offered with either the VMware ESXi 3.5 or Citrix XenServer Dell Express Edition hypervisors integrated at the factory.
Microsoft’s HyperV will be added on when it is launched in the second half of this year, Rick Becker, the vice president, Dell Product Group, told InternetNews.com.
The R805 offers twice the memory and I/O capacity of Dell’s previous generation two-socket servers, according to the company.
Both servers are available worldwide now. They were “designed from the ground up for virtualization,” Sally Stevens, Dell’s director, PowerEdge Servers, told InternetNews.com. The starting prices for the R805 is $3,049 and $6,499 for the R905.
Over the next few weeks, Dell will offer factory-integrated VMware ESXi 3.5 or Citrix XenServer Dell Express Edition across a broad range of PowerEdge servers, including the PowerEdge 2950, the 1950, the R900, and the M600 blade and the M605 blade servers.
Dell will also offer a virtualization simplification workshop, new virtualization operational assessment and process automation, a virtualization health check to identify and help remove bottlenecks to virtualization, an expanded virtualization assessment, expanded design and implementation services, and fast access to technical experts for help on implementations.
Finally, Dell announced the Dell PAN accelerator service; expanded design and implementation services featuring the latest virtualization technologies and best-of-breed disaster recovery tools and techniques; and ProSupport remote advisory services.
Observers’ reactions to the announcement were mixed.
Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told InternetNews.com that Dell “sees the need for a more integrated approach to virtualization or perhaps it’s seeing an opportunity by delivering solutions that extend across the IT infrastructure.”
Analyst Kusnetzky said that while Dell made a lot of announcements, it still has a lot of catching up to do.
“Let’s consider what they really announced: A new section on their Website making it easier to find pre-configured systems; two new servers; a tie-in to Dell’s EqualLogic storage systems; a tie-in to Dell’s partnership with Egenera allowing Dell to resell PAN Manager; and a tie-in to their global service offerings,” he said. “HP, IBM and Sun have more comprehensive software offerings.”