Dell Expands Virtualization, Storage, Management Tool Lineup

Dell's focus on software and services continues; new offerings target cloud implementation and BYOD chores, simplify desktop virtualization rollouts.
Intel Puts Future On Exhibit
Intel Puts Future On Exhibit
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Dell expanded its portfolio of networking, storage, and virtualization tools on Monday with the announcement of several new products. In doing so, the Texas-based company continues to evolve from its hardware roots into the new frontier of management and services offerings. The product unveiling also helps to solidify Dell's business model, which has slowly been taking shape during a string of acquisitions.

Many of Dell's recent customer conversations haven't been about just data centers; they've also been about how to implement the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement into the workplace, said Rafael Colorado, marketing director for Dell Desktop Virtualization Solutions and one of several Dell executives present for a "Chalk Talk" to discuss the new products Monday in San Francisco. He also referenced concerns over security, centralized data, and the processing power necessary to handle that data when discussing customer emphases.

In Dell's view, these assorted requirements lend themselves to different permutations of resources and services. The right balance is especially important, as Jonathan Feldman recently wrote in InformationWeek, because more operations are migrating into the mobile arena. Dell said its new products are designed to allow users the flexibility that such diverse demands require while also maintaining ease of use.

Among the new products are the EqualLogic PS6510ES and PS6500ES storage arrays. Designed to offer effective data management for virtual desktop interface (VDI) application delivery models, the hybrid storage arrays feature a combination of high-performance solid state drives (SSD) and high-capacity near-line SAS (NL-SAS) drives. The EqualLogic arrays use automated auto-tiering algorithms to determine which applications and data are used most frequently and to store each in an appropriate location: SSDs for the most commonly accessed items and NL-SAS drives for the others. The hybrid model is designed to avoids performance lapses during high-activity periods, such as hundreds of employees signing onto the system simultaneously at the beginning of a workday, said Travis Vigil, executive director for Dell Storage.

The PS6510ES supports a 10-Gbps Ethernet connection while the PS6500ES supports a 1-Gbps Ethernet connection. Both models can be configured in 48-drive arrays with capacities up to 85 TB per array and up to 2 PB per EqualLogic group. Fiber optic and wireless connections are also offered to broaden the arrays' appeal, particularly among government users. According to Dell, the new products offer 360% improved IOPS performance and a 75% reduction in latency on tiered workloads relative to the currently-available PS6510X.

Unveiled alongside the arrays was Dells's EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for VMware 3.5. This resource provides centralized EqualLogic management from VMware vCenter Server.

In addition to the storage products, Dell also introduced the Dell Wyse P25 and Dell Wyse P45 PC-over-IP (PCoIP) zero clients designed specifically for VMware View implementations. PCoIP centralizes computational heavy-lifting at the data center level and transmits pixel-only representation across any standard IP network to the zero clients. This model allows enhanced security because sensitive information is never actually stored on the end device.

The new P-series products--a result of Dell's acquisition of Wyse--enable better-than-high-definition imaging capabilities that are intended for stock traders, CAD users, video editors, and other professionals who require multiple displays that update quickly. The P25 can support 1920 x 1280-pxiel resolution for two monitors or 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution for one monitor. The P45 can handle a pair of monitors at the higher resolution and up to four monitors at the lower resolution.

Finally, Dell announced three new desktop virtualization reference architectures validated in collaboration with VMware. Dell DVS Enterprise, or the VMware Mobile Secure Desktop Reference Architecture, is meant to be a flexible BYOD tool intended to allow any authorized device to access personal desktops while benefiting from reliable session persistence and mobility. Dell Mobile Clinical Computing, or VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care Reference Architecture, allows physicians secure, quick, and mobile access to information while preserving data integrity and security. Dell claims the architecture allows doctors to access and input patient records so well that typical 5-minute to 6-minute latency periods can be reduced to less than 30 seconds. vStart for VDI Reference Architecture, or VMware View, runs as a workload on top of the Dell vStart stack to enable secure, scalable, and simple management of Dell's DVS Enterprise products.

Dell cited research that predicts virtualization products will be a $21 billion industry by 2014. Jeff McNaught, Dell Cloud Client Computing's chief strategy and marketing officer and a transplant from the Wyse purchase, said that "screens no longer matter." That is, "users want to use all of [their devices], and they want them all to work." Support for non-Dell branded hardware is part of this plan. Other new plans, Colorado said, include desktop-as-a-service offerings, for "customers who don't want to invest in infrastructure." As an example, he described a call center that had a sudden need for a few hundred temporary employees. With desktop-as-a-service products, he claimed, the operation could be up and running within hours, without any new hardware required thanks to storage and virtualization services hosted by Dell's data centers.

The Dell DVS--VMware Mobile Secure Desktop, vStart for VDI 50, vStart for VDI 1000, and Dell Mobile Clinical Computing--VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care reference architectures are already available. The Dell Wyse P-series products, meanwhile, are expected in September, and the EqualLogic arrays and Host Integration Tools for VMware 3.5 are slated to hit the market in the fourth quarter of this year.

New innovative products may be a better fit for today's enterprise storage than monolithic systems. Also in the new, all-digital Storage Innovation issue of InformationWeek: Compliance in the cloud era. (Free with registration.)

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