Dell Technologies aims modular data center at AI, machine learning

Dell Technologies eyes composable architecture, PowerMax storage, PowerEdge servers, and converged systems for handling emerging and new workloads.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

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Dell Technologies is positioning its servers, storage systems, hyperconverged infrastructure, and future architecture for workloads such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics.

At Dell Technologies World, the company rolled out a series of data center building blocks -- Dell EMC PowerMax storage systems, updated PowerEdge servers and VxRail appliances, and VXRack SDDC Systems -- and Kinetic, a composable infrastructure. Hewlett Packard Enterprise has a similar effort called Synergy.

Ravi Pendekanti, senior vice president of product management and marketing for Dell EMC's server and infrastructure systems group, said the new workload environment "has to be about more than point products."

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Ultimately what Dell is trying to do is align its data center portfolio around strategic workloads in an industry standard way. Kinetic, which is only being previewed right now, is a window to how Dell EMC will position its portfolio.


Sam Grocott, senior vice president for marketing for Dell Technologies infrastructure solutions group, outlined PowerMax high-end storage, which replaces the VMax systems from EMC. PowerMax has been redesigned for better performance and industry standard support for NVMe. Pure Systems has launched storage systems built around NVMe, but Grocott (while not calling out Pure directly) said other systems are proprietary.


PowerMax will also includes a machine learning engine in the PowerMax OS. The engine will make it more efficient for pattern recognition and predictive analytics, said Grocott. The PowerMax family, available May 7, "is designed to place data on the right storage media based on information gathered historically and real time," he added.


Dell EMC also launched the XtremIO X2, which is a mid-range system, with a price point that's 55 percent lower than its predecessor system. For Dell EMC, XtremIO can drive more storage share in smaller companies.

The PowerEdge refresh is aimed to free up compute and bandwidth for new workloads. PowerEdge is providing tighter integration with compute, networking and storage to avoid being a choke point for new workloads, said Pendekanti.


For instance, PowerEdge MX is designed to be modular and manage multiple devices, said Pendekanti. Dell EMC is previewing PowerEdge MX along with Kinetic to illustrate how it is going modular.


On the converged infrastructure front, Dell EMC boosted performance on VXRack SDDC and VXRail with more memory, graphics acceleration, and automation to accelerate deployments for multicloud environments while meeting compliance needs.

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