Dell is growing its hyperconverged infrastructure portfolio with new offerings that highlight not only what the company can do now but how its capabilities will be expanded when it buys storage giant EMC later this year.
Company officials on April 5 announced new appliances in its XC Series that are powered by the latest Xeon server chips from Intel, and a reference architecture that integrates technologies from Dell and VMware. At the same time, the officials said Dell will now resell hyperconverged systems from VCE, EMC's converged platform business.
The new offerings are part of Dell's larger effort to build out a broad portfolio of products that enable customers to migrate to hyperconverged infrastructure at the pace they want, according to Marius Haas, chief commercial officer and president of Dell's Enterprise Solutions unit.
"Our hyperconverged portfolio spans a broad range of the most trusted and differentiated purpose-built appliances, integrated systems, factory installed solutions and flexible reference architectures, allowing Dell to offer systems that can be deployed and scale in minutes or help customers flexibly build their own systems with existing IT," Haas said in a statement.
Hyperconverged and converged infrastructures—which offer compute, storage, networking and virtualization capabilities in tightly integrated single solutions—are becoming increasingly popular as businesses and service providers try to manage increasingly diverse workloads and an onslaught of data brought on by such trends as mobility, big data and the cloud. IDC analysts expect the hyperconverged market to grow at a faster rate—about 60 percent a year—than traditional data center systems, hitting more than $3.9 billion in sales through 2019.
Unsurprisingly, other systems OEMs also are making hard moves into the market. Hewlett Packard Enterprise last month introduced the HC 380, a hyperconverged solution aimed at the midmarket and based on the company's ProLiant 380 server. Lenovo days earlier announced a partnership with Juniper Networks to build hyperconverged and converged systems, while Cisco Systems jumped into the market through an alliance with startup SpringPath. In addition, newer companies like Nutanix and SimpliVity also are look for more traction in a hyperconverged space that IDC analysts expect will grow from about $2 billion this year to almost $5 billion by 2019.
Since Michael Dell returned as CEO in 2007, the company has rapidly built out its data center capabilities, spending billions to buy companies to expand its reach in such areas as networking, storage, software, security and the cloud. Company officials have said Dell's planned $67 billion acquisition of EMC, which is expected to be completed by October, will accelerate the vendors transformation, and bring with it important assets, including VCE and VMware.
Dell is now selling VCE's VxRail lineup of hyperconverged appliances that are jointly engineered with VMware and are aimed at VMware environments. The offerings includes not only VCE and VMware technology, but also EMC's rich data services and systems management software, and are designed for small and midsize businesses, starting at $60,000. Dell also is reselling VCE's VxRack Node and VxRack System 1000 FLEX. The rack systems are made to help businesses migrate away from storage-area networks (SANs) and to highly scalable hyperconverged systems, officials said. The VxRack Node will enable customers to embrace software-defined storage via EMC's ScaleIO software.
In addition, the company unveiled the Dell Reference Architecture for EMC Converged Infrastructure that shows how businesses can adopt a VxRack architecture using Dell's PowerEdge servers.
For its own offerings, Dell announced VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes, which are validated configurations that can be integrated by Dell with its PowerEdge servers and VMware hyperconverged software. Dell's XC Series appliances use Nutanix's infrastructure offerings and Intel's latest Xeon E5-2600 v4 "Broadwell" chips, which launched March 31.
In addition, Dell's Hybrid Cloud Platform for VMware reference architecture now supports VMware's Virtual SAN technology.
The Dell VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes—for customers to build—and XC Series appliances are available now, while the Reference Architecture for EMC Converged Infrastructure with VMware Virtual SAN support and the factory-installed VMware Virtaul SAN Ready Nodes will be available in the second quarter. The VCE VxRack System 1000 FLEX is available now direct from Dell, and will be available through the channel in the second quarter.