Hitting IT out of the park: building solutions for today’s IT challenges

Today at the Dell Storage Forum in Boston, I spoke about Dell’s approach to designing end-to-end solutions. For more than 20 years, we’ve taken a visionary, pragmatic approach centered on listening to our customers, and it’s your feedback that fuels our design process.

Because of what you’ve told us, we know the challenges you’re facing: expectations from the business and end users have never been higher. You need to get out of the “keeping the lights on” mode and focus on driving the business, not just supporting it. You need an efficient and agile IT infrastructure everywhere – end to end.

We want to help you “hit it out of the park”, regardless of the IT challenge facing you. That’s why we’re excited to announce several new tools to help you do just that. Here are the new infrastructure tools and services we announced today in Boston:

  • The EqualLogic Blade Array delivers an enterprise SAN designed to take full advantage of true infrastructure convergence – no cables to connect, no additional management consoles to learn, all the power of scalable, virtualized, intuitive EqualLogic storage.
    We’ve also updated the EqualLogic software to provide real-time data protection, automatic diagnostic data collection, and enhanced reliability and availability for Microsoft SharePoint environments.
  • The Dell Converged Blade Data Center solution combines Dell EqualLogic Blade Arrays, 12th Generation Dell PowerEdge blade servers, and Dell Force10 MXL blade switching. It’s an entire data center within a single blade enclosure to help streamline IT management and operations
  • The Dell vStart 1000 provides an additional data center convergence solution, delivering the first inclusion of Dell Compellent storage and Force10 networking for customers seeking a mission critical infrastructure platform for applications and private cloud services.
  • The Dell Data Migration Planning and Data Migration Services ease transition to new blade arrays and Dell storage portfolio
  • The next generation Compellent array, comprised of the SC8000 and FS8600, is designed to lower the total cost of ownership by managing a virtualized, scalable pool of disks to expand up and out across block and file without forklift upgrades.
  • The Fluid File System with the new Dell Compellent FS8600 NAS. The integration of the Dell Fluid File System within the Compellent architecture represents the final step in offering file capabilities across each of Dell’s primary storage platforms.
  • The release of Dell AppAssure 5.0, which has greater scalability enabling it to back up larger data sets.
  • The new Brocade 16Gb Fibre Channel switch, an entry level 16Gb fibre channel switch that helps simplify scale-out network design
  • For even more detailed information about the new releases, please check out our Dell Storage Forum Online Press Kit.

Update, 6-12:: Added a few bullet points above to include items we launched this morning.

These new products and services help us to continue delivering converged infrastructures. Converged infrastructure is an overused term that means something different to everyone. The industry is talking about converged like it is a new concept, but in reality convergence has been happening in storage for a while (think block and file, or iSCSI and FC). At Dell we’ve been converging management with things like vSphere plug-ins, and Host Integration Toolkit to speed time to deployment.

We think convergence is more than just infrastructure convergence… it’s actually a continuum. It’s a key enabling tool (like virtualization); it can enable greater IT agility and efficiency. We don’t think convergence is an architecture; we approach it as a philosophy. Our enterprise-wide strategy enables this approach:

  • End-to-end portfolio, including servers, networking, and storage
  • Open architecture, letting you support multiple deployment types and management options
  • Choice, giving you the ability to improve operational choices without fundamentally changing the way you operate

We’ve been investing in areas that will allow us to continue design products that enable you to build the end-to-end agile, efficient infrastructure that you will need to enable you to tackle the IT challenges you are facing and help give you move towards supporting your business.

For storage, we’ve built out an end-to-end portfolio that optimizes data everywhere:

  • EqualLogic offers the best in class iSCSI and virtualization support, and it’s easy to use
  • Compellent is the best self-optimized, auto-tiering solution available
  • We’ve added the Dell Fluid File System across our NAS portfolio
  • Ocarina has been implemented across our DX, DR, and DL lines, offering deduplication to optimize data storage at every stage without sacrificing search or recall.
  • We now have AppAssure as a backup and recovery solution for both physical and virtual environments

We’ve been innovating how we build servers:

Fresh Air specifications are built into every 12th generation PowerEdge platform, giving you greater flexibility and peace of mind. We’ve also been investing heavily in networking:

  • We acquired Force10, and recently introduced the Dell Force10 MXL 10/40GbE switch, its first 40 gigabit blade server switch for the Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade system
  • Security is another key aspect of the network, and we have invested in network security with the acquisition of SonicWall.

What do you think about our approach to convergence, and on the products and services that we announced today? Tell us in the comments!

About the Author: Brad Anderson