Dell EMC adds new XC models for additional use cases, plus new automated BIOS and firmware updates

The two new models include the first quad-processor environments for Nutanix environments, and a new edge appliance that can be as small as 1U. The new Life Cycle Management capability may, however, be what excites customers most about the new announcements.

John Shirley, director, product management, Dell EMC XC Family

NEW ORLEANS — Today, in conjunction with the Nutanix .NEXT event here, Nutanix strategic partner  Dell EMC is announcing three new extensions of the Dell EMC XC Family, which is based on Nutanix software. They include two new appliances, the Dell EMC XC940-24, the first quad-processor appliance for Nutanix environments, and the new Dell EMC XC640-4i appliance, which is aimed at smaller deployments –  but not at smaller business. They are particularly well suited for resource companies who will deploy them in huge numbers in Internet of Things environments. Finally, Dell EMC also announced a net-new software addition, a new Life Cycle Management [LCM] capability for the XC Family. LCM leverages Dell EMC’s PowerEdge technology and standards-based APIs to automatically inventory and update an XC system’s BIOS and firmware.

“The Dell EMC XC940-24 is based on our PowerEdge R940 4 socket configuration, and makes us the first vendor to ship a 4-socket solution that is fully tested on Nutanix,” said John Shirley, director, product management, Dell EMC XC Family.

This new appliance extends the upper end of enterprise workloads which can be run on the XC series. It can be configured with up to 6TB of memory, all-flash or a mix of SSDs and HDDs, and with either 10GbE or 25GbE networking.

“This is really focused on in-memory workloads, and gets up into the upper end of large memory configurations,” Shirley said. That makes it well suited for Big Data, analytics, and other applications that require extremely high levels of performance.

“We are already seeing great traction for customers wanting to deploy the solution,” Shirley said.

Dell also announced the new EMC XC640-4i appliance, which expands the lower-end of the range of applications that are a good fit for HCI, particularly in Internet of Things environments. This appliance supports 1-, 2- and 3-node deployments.

“It’s an edge market, for things like wind turbines, which are really effective in a single node cluster,” Shirley said. “It fits well into oil and gas as well, environments where you can deploy thousands of these units. The 1-node lets you drive down cost of delivering a solution, in environment where you can tolerate some failures. The 2-node is a better fit for where you can’t have that, and the 3-node can be scaled as big as you need.”

Shirley indicated this isn’t something for the low end of the market, but for significant installs that want to have a lot of less expensive devices.

“With these, you will also need a larger XC deployment to phone home to,” he said.

Shirley noted that the new software LCM capability for XC is stimulating considerable interest among customers. It leverages PowerEdge technology and standards-based APIs to automatically inventory and update the BIOS and firmware for several components in an XC system. It supports both in-band and out-of-band communications and provides updates 70 per cent faster than manual methods.

“This is a complete net-new,” he said. “Customers are most excited about this part of the announcement, because manually doing this is time-intensive and prone to errors. It is the result of a combined effort between Nutanix and Dell, because it was necessary to write to Nutanix IP.”

While Dell EMC nominally sells the XC series into non-VMware environments, and sells their own branded products for VMware, the majority of XC series sales have always been for the VMware hypervisor.

“It’s for customers who want multi-hypervisor support,” Shirley said. “We sell them to customers because that’s what they want.” He noted that they have seen a significant growth in Microsoft Hyper-V sales, which are now 30 per cent of the XC business, compared to 65 per cent VMware ESXi and 5 per cent Nutanix AHV.

“The Nutanix sales are still more test/dev,” Shirley said.