Dell sure has embraced EqualLogic, the storage vendor provider it acquired in January, with gusto.
The company has announced new offerings under the EqualLogic brand as well as new blade systems built with storage in mind, rather than as an add-on service. Overall, the product mix represents a strategy shift for Dell.
The PowerEdge M805 and M905 are full-height, two-socket and four-socket blades, respectively, both running AMD Dual Core or Quad Core Opteron processors. The M805 supports up to 128GB of memory while the M905 supports 192GB of memory.
Both are available with a choice of Citrix XenServer, VMware, and Microsoft’s Hyper-V. Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) claims the M905 can run up to 66 virtual machines per blade. The new blades are available now, starting at $4,999 for the M905 and $1,699 for the M805.
In addition to the new blades, Dell launched a 10 Gigabit Ethernet and a 8 Gigabit Fibre Channel switches and mezzanine cards to address one of the biggest problems facing virtualized systems: the bottleneck of I/O when so many virtual machines are running at once.
Dell’s goal is to break down the separation between server and storage, according to Praveen Asthana, director of storage products at Dell. “We are further integrating storage with server virtualization because we believe it’s not enough to offer storage, you’ve got to further integrate the two as far as possible,” he told InternetNews.com. “All our research shows storage is the biggest pain point for our customers as far as virtualization goes.”
Dell was one of the first OEMs to push the idea of an embedded hypervisor in its systems, so it knows the value of integration, said Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff. “What we’re talking about isn’t particularly rocket science but it is recognizing the specs for a virtual server are going to be in many cases different from one that isn’t virtualized,” he told InternetNews.com.
Dell also announced an OEM solution from PlateSpin, a Novell company that specializes in disaster recovery software. Dell is going to use PlateSpin PowerConvert software, which enables enterprises to optimize their data center by spreading the workload over multiple physical servers and PlateSpin PowerRecon for the planning and assessment of customer virtualization projects.
Finally, Dell launched the Dell EqualLogic PS5500E, a SAN array with triple the capacity of earlier products and integrated data management and protection software. The PS5500E has room for 48 3.5-inch drives, for up to 48TB of storage in a 4U array. Up to 12 may be connected, for 576TB of total storage capacity.
With the introduction of the PS5500E is a new function called Auto-Snapshot Manager/VMware Edition (ASM/VE). This works with VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3) environments to take system snapshots and make backups of a VMware virtual machine and VMFS file system, and restore the system to an old restore point if needed.
“As you scale the number of virtual machines, it becomes difficult to manage the snapshots,” said Asthana. “We’ve integrated the Snapshot Manager with the virtual machines to manage as many snapshots as you like per machine.”
This feature will be available for all EqualLogic SAN systems and will be available as a free download by the end of the month. The PS5500E is available direct from Dell and its PartnerDirect channel partners. A 48TB PS5500E starts at $78,000.
On the services side, Dell launched consulting services for Microsoft Hyper-V deployments. The services include assessment, design, and implementation. Prices start at $15,700.
Haff said EqualLogic was a good pickup for Dell because it upped the breadth of the company’s offerings. “I think a lot of people were assuming back a year or so that Dell wouldn’t be able to play [in virtualization] because they just assemble commodity boxes. I think one of the things Dell is showing here is they are willing to make some level of investment as the market changes and system requirements change.”