Dell strengthens EMC-VMware presence in its hyper-converged portfolio

Beefing up the offerings owned by organizations soon likely to be owned by Dell comes as no surprise, but the vendor also strongly restated its support for its Nutanix-based XC line, while beefing it up as well, and said it’s not going anywhere.

Travis Vigil Hi Res 300

Travis Vigil, Executive Director Product Management, Dell Enterprise Solutions Group

Today, Dell is announcing an enhanced hyper-converged portfolio, which sees offerings from EMC and VMware brought into prominence within the Dell stable, across all three elements of Dell’s hyper-converged line.

Dell is firmly committed to offering customers a choice of three hyper-converged consumption models, said Travis Vigil, Executive Director Product Management, Dell Enterprise Solutions Group.

“For maximum flexibility, there is the ‘do it yourself’ approach, where an organization layers software on industry standard servers,” he said. “Then there is the appliance approach, which has gained significant traction in the last two years, and offers modular scaling and increased automation. Finally, you have fully-defined engineered solutions, where you have a little trade off in terms of flexibility. We see all three of these providing a path for customers.”

Vigil announced additions in all three consumption models.

“We are doubling down on a best-in-class portfolio in hyper-converged infrastructure, with a significant expansion to an already broad portfolio,” he said.

The appliance portfolio presently has the Dell XC series, with Nutanix software, and VMware EVO: Rail. It is now being enhanced by Dell’s becoming a reseller of hyper-converged offerings from VCE, the Converged Platforms Division of EMC. The VCE VxRail Appliance Family are jointly engineered with VMware and are fully integrated, preconfigured, and pre-tested for VMware environments. The VCE VxRail Appliances are available in a broad set of configurations for small to mid-sized deployments, starting with a list price of $USD 60,000.

“Reselling the VCE VxRail appliance brings best of EMC and VMware together,” Vigil said. “These will be available both through Dell and PartnerDirect.”

While Dell’s decision to begin reselling product it is very likely to own at some point during this year should surprise no one, Vigil stated that customer demand was a key here.

“Customers are asking for it,” he said. While the VxRail has only been on the market for 44 days, it already has strong sales and pipelines.

Vigil also stressed that bringing the VCE products directly into the fold does not mean that the Dell-Nutanix relationship is on the outs.

“We are 100 per cent committed to our XC product line, which has seen 10x year-over-year growth,” he said. “We are tremendously committed to that product. It is a core offering in our hyper-converged infrastructure.” Indeed, Vigil indicated that Dell is the first to bring Intel’s new Broadwell Xeon CPUs to marketing in hyper-converged with new XC series models. He also indicated that the XC Series is now certified for SAP NetWeaver, extending those appliances’ use cases to support the SAP solution stack.

Not surprisingly, Vigil indicated that Dell has put a migration path in place for VMware EVO: Rail customers, which has not been successful, and which VMWare is no longer developing.

“We will be offering a transition program for customers transitioning their clusters,” he said. “Both VxRail and VSAN nodes will be options going forward.”

These VSAN nodes – new flexible Dell VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes based on Dell PowerEdge servers – are one of the new offerings Dell has added for the do-it-yourselfers. They are ready-to-order, validated configurations that can be factory integrated with Dell PowerEdge servers and VMware hyper-converged software.

“We are updating the VSAN Ready Nodes and are now offering more variance and the ability to install VMware software from the Dell factory along with Dell servers, including the new PowerEdge R730xd all-flash option,” Vigil said.

Do-it-yourselfers will also now have access to the VCE VxRack Node through Dell. The VxRack Node is a software-defined storage building block with EMC ScaleIO software.

“We will be reselling this for the Do-it-Yourselfer part of the market,” Vigil said.

A further new offering for the do-it-yourself model includes upgrading the Dell Hybrid Cloud Platform Reference Arch with VMware with VSAN 6.2 as a variant. A Dell Reference Architecture for EMC Converged Infrastructure based on Scale IO will be available later this quarter.

One new offering for the engineered systems consumption model was announced. Dell will now resell the VCE VxRack System 1000 FLEX, a rack-scale, hyper-converged infrastructure offering that delivers high performance compute, software-defined storage and networking.

“It is focused on the higher end compared to the Dell XC and VxRail,” Vigil said. For the moment, it is also only available direct, although that will change in Q2.

VCE VxRail, VCE VxRack Node, Dell VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes (customer build), and the latest Dell XC Series appliances are available now.

Dell Reference Architecture for EMC Converged Infrastructure, VMware Virtual SAN support with Dell Hybrid Cloud Platform for VMware, and Dell VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes (factory installed) have planned global availability in Q2 of 2016.

The VCE VxRack System 1000 FLEX is available today direct from Dell in the US. Global and channel availability are planned for the second quarter of 2016.