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3/24/2010
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Dell Offers Turnkey Cloud Computing Package

The package will integrate PowerEdge C servers and services from Dell with software from Dell partners to reduce the cost of building cloud computing environments.

Drawing on its custom work for major Internet companies, Dell on Thursday launched the first of a number of hardware, software, and services packages that will offer turnkey offerings for organizations building cloud computing environments.

The hardware component is a new line of servers, called the PowerEdge C, that is tailored for data centers running private or public clouds or Web applications handling huge amounts of traffic. The software is coming from Dell partners, while the computer maker is supplying services for design, development, deployment, implementation, and maintenance.

The latest offering stems from Dell's Data Center Solutions unit, which supplies servers to search engine providers such as Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing, and Ask.com, and to large social networks, such as Facebook. The unit also sells to cloud suppliers, such as Amazon's Web services.

While DCS customers today use customized products, Dell believes many of these organizations will eventually move to more standardized products in order to reduce total cost of ownership. Through DCS, Dell says it has the knowledge to put together such products, which it calls "turnkey cloud solutions."

Established in mid-2006, DCS has 20 customers that collectively account for more than 10% of x86 servers produced today, according to Dell. If DCS was split from Dell, the division would be the third largest supplier of such servers in the United States.

Dell's new server line is initially comprised of three products: the PowerEdge C1100, C2100, and C6100.

The C1100 is a high-memory, power-efficient computer built to operate in large server clusters. The C2100 is configured for data analytics and storage, and the C6100 is described as a "four-node cloud and cluster optimized shared infrastructure server."

The servers have been stripped of some features found in general purpose servers in order for them to meet the requirements of cloud computing infrastructures. Built for high-energy efficiency, the PowerEdge C line is configured to operate with management software that quickly routes workloads around systems to handle peaks in demand or to avoid disruption when a server fails.

The first turnkey package will be for running large Web sites. The new product is tailored to address key issues associated with Web application development and deployment, such as unpredictable traffic, the potential for under-provisioning during unexpected spikes in demand, and the migration of applications from development to production without disrupting service, Dell said. The package combines PowerEdge C servers with cloud computing software from Joyent.

Dell announced the addition of three software partners whose products Dell will offer as part of its new packages. Aster Data, Greenplum, and Canonical expand Dell's list of cloud computing software partners, which include Microsoft and VMware.

Dell did not release pricing, but said its new servers and services are available in select countries. The cloud infrastructure packages will begin rolling out next month, starting with the Web site package, which will be available to select customers in beta.

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