Dell developed and acquired IP converge in Active System

Last week, Dell introduced its next generation converged infrastructure offering, Active System, as part of the Active Infrastructure family. It is the most recent culmination of our multi-year, multi-billion dollar strategy to provide better end-to-end enterprise solutions and services to our customers by combining Dell-developed IP with innovations from our multiple acquisitions. The announcement of Active System is a great time to take a brief retrospective on the deliberate path that has led us to this point.

The original x86 server pioneer

The Active System story actually started more than a decade ago. When Dell entered the server market, it was a pioneer in the introduction of x86-based servers that today is the dominant compute platform. Dell believed that an open approach to the data center would create greater flexibility, scalability and better economics for IT organizations, relative to the legacy platforms such as mainframes and RISC/UNIX-based servers. Dell is now a leader in x86 server innovations with its second-generation embedded management, its outstanding power efficiency and the continued development of unique form factors that provide additional flexibility and better economics, such as the world's only quarter-height blade server — the PowerEdge M420

 More recently, we have devoted R&D spend toward better systems management with tools like Open Manage Essentials that provides holistic discovery, monitoring and updates  for Dell servers, storage and network systems without requiring agents. We have also simplified and streamlined the management of Dell hardware within the context of other popular tools with a range of management integrations for VMware vCenter and Microsoft System Center.

 We have also developed integrated systems such as vStart for the rapid deployment of virtualized infrastructure, and accelerated the ability to implement OpenStack with private cloud solutions that include the Dell-developed Crowbar software tool.

 Transforming the rest of the data center

In 2008, Dell started down its path of data center-related acquisitions with the purchase of EqualLogic, the iSCSI storage leader with a unique scale-out technology specifically designed for virtualized servers. We subsequently added four more storage-related acquisitions, most recently Compellent with its advanced auto-tiering capability. In 2009, we acquired Perot Systems that provided additional data center capabilities around application migration and modernization and cloud-based managed services. In 2011, we added Force10 Networks, a leader in 40 GbE and distributed network core technologies. The recent acquisition of Quest Software in 2012 adds a range of new capabilities around security, data protection and application and infrastructure performance management. We continue to invest in these acquisitions, as evidenced by the new EqualLogic Blade Array, a simple, yet powerful bladed SAN array.

The result: Dell Active System

Dell Active System is a balanced hybrid of Dell-generated and Dell-acquired IP.  The new Active System Manager takes it roots from Dell’s own system management tools. The new PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator leverages Force10 networking IP and is a module in the Dell-developed M1000e blade chassis. Active System includes our latest 12th generation compute platforms as well as our key storage acquisitions of EqualLogic and Compellent. Lastly, it benefits from Dell’s heritage of strong technical support while also providing a link to Dell’s new public cloud services. With the recent Quest Software acquisition, the opportunities to further enhance Active System to address our customers’ challenges are boundless. Stay tuned to see the future chapters of Dell’s and Active System’s evolution!

About the Author: Ben Tao