Dell issued a press release today saying "Dell is driving the next wave of virtualization solutions beyond hypervisors and hardware consolidation with end-to-end solutions tuned to the speed of businesses of all sizes." While there are sufficient catch phrases, buzz words and industry jargon in that statement to statisfy most marketing folks, what does this really mean?
What did Dell announce?
Here's a snippet from their announcement to begin our discussion.
"Dell is driving the next wave of virtualization solutions beyond hypervisors and hardware consolidation with end-to-end solutions tuned to the speed of businesses of all sizes. By delivering end-to-end solutions and simplifying the purchase, deployment and management, Dell is helping customers realize the expanded benefits of virtualization, such as live migration, virtualized storage, dynamic workload balancing and automated data center management.
Dell has streamlined the path to purchase and full VMware VI3 enterprise licensing with new e-commerce capability at www.dell.com/VMwareNow where customers can buy and upgrade PowerEdge servers with integrated virtualization technology in a single click.
The new Dell PowerEdge R805 and R905 deliver virtualization designed platforms with 2X the memory and I/O capacity of typical 2 and 4 socket servers. With a choice of VMware ESXi 3.5 or Citrix XenServer Express integrated hypervisors, the PowerEdge R805 and R905 servers deliver the optimal platform for virtualized environments.
The Dell PowerEdge R900 and R905 deliver the ultimate in 4 socket virtualization performance as some of the first servers to support 60 virtual machines in Vmark testing. Both the PowerEdge R900 and R905 delivered up to 24 percent better performance than the HP Proliant DL580. The PowerEdge R905 delivered price per virtualization performance at 33 percent less cost than the IBM x3850, 56 less cost than the Sun X4450, and 18 percent less cost than the HP Proliant DL580. This is in addition to Dell’s leadership with number 1 performance benchmarks in blade and 2 socket servers with the PowerEdge M-Series blades and the PowerEdge 2950III.
Dell EqualLogic storage arrays are optimized for the virtual data center with patented storage virtualization technology that eliminates complexity of SAN deployment and management, easy provisioning and adaptive and self-tuning performance. With new advanced SAN-aware integration with VMware Site Recovery Manager, Dell EqualLogic offers data protection and disaster recovery for virtualized environments for no additional cost in management tools.
Dell and Egenera are delivering a dynamic data center – making virtualization and data center automation a reality beyond the blade chassis. The Dell PAN system is built on proven PowerEdge 1950 and 2950 servers and Dell|EMC storage, with Citrix XenServer and factory integrated as a complete, turn-key solution that consolidates and virtualizes server compute-resources into an entire Processor Area Network to be managed like hard drives in a SAN. The Dell PAN system can deliver rapid provisioning and re-deployment in minutes not weeks and hardware availability and site recovery at up to 70 percent lower cost than competitive offerings.
Dell Global Infrastructure Consulting Services deliver customized services for virtualization customers of all sizes, from the small or remote office to design and complete implementation of large data center Dell PAN system. "
Let's look closer at this announcement
Let's decode the marketing speak and try to ferret out what Dell is really saying.
- Dell has added a new section to their website designed to make it easier to configure and purchase hardware configurations combined with virtual machine software and management software for virtualized environments from VMware. This portion of Dell's Website offers different combinations of hardware, software and services so Dell customers can more easily purchase a tested, integrated set of solutions aimed at small/remote datacenters, mid-size datacenters and large datacenters.
- Two new 4-socket servers, Dell PowerEdge R805 and R905, that can be configured with either VMware or Citrix's hypervisor technology
- A tie in to Dell's very clever Equallogic storage systems
- A tie in to Dell's partnership with Egenera to deliver PAN manager
- A tie in to their global service group's offerings
Did I leave anything out?
This is largely an announcement of a couple of new systems that can be configured with a hypervisor from either VMware or Citrix. Egenera's powerful PAN manager and Dell's Equallogic's storage systems have been added to round out a server virtualization story. The systems look powerful and very scalable.
While HP, IBM and Sun can offer solutions that touch every layer of the Kusnetzky Group model (see Sorting out the different layers of virtualization for more information on the model), this Dell announcement only touches on three elements of that comprehensive model — one of five elements of the virtual processing layer, storage virtualization and management of virtual resources. No mention was made of virtual access, application virtualization, any of the other elements of virtual processing software or network virtualization. In the area of virtual machine software alone, no mention was made of offerings from Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, Sun or Virtual Iron.
This doesn't, by the way, indicate that Dell's solution portfolio is weak in these areas. It just indicates that unlike the other hardware suppliers, Dell chooses to work with other suppliers rather than developing its own virtualization software.
Dell appears to be hoping that they'll be able to entice organizations to select a Dell-based configuration not on the strength of its own software technology, but on the basis of the price/performance of its hardware.
Would your organization select the platform for business and mission critical solutions based on this thinking or would it go to other suppliers based upon the complete portfolio of virtualization technology they're offering?