Dell Bets Big On Partners, Workload-Specific Appliances

Rather than just another set of my-products-are-better-than-your-products announcements, the latest additions to Dell’s enterprise lineup offer the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the privatization strategy may be paying off. It’s still way too early to come to any conclusions, but the new products — and associated partnerships — provide a number of possibilities that could pay big dividends for the PC giant that wants to be considered a serious contender to the IT heavyweights , , Oracle and Cisco (with or without EMC/).

Dell made a number of announcements on Tuesday at its User Forum, including: four appliances and integrated systems (Dell Acceleration for Databases with flash memory, Dell Integrated Systems for Oracle 12c Database, Dell In-Memory Appliance for Enterprise, and Dell XC Series of Web-scale Appliances powered by ); and flash, hybrid and software-defined arrays.

The market for technology enhancements — feeds and speeds — isn’t going away, but there is a growing group seeking engineered (integrated or converged) solutions, said Travis Vigil, Executive Director, Product Management, Dell Storage. “Our conversations with customers more and more are centered on workloads.”

The momentum behind converged systems that bring together some combination of compute, storage, network, software and services is growing. Currently dominated by Cisco, HP and IBM, the converged market is expected to be worth $17.8 billion by 2016, according to IDC.

Resource-strapped organizations are looking for infrastructure management platforms that will unchain them from spending countless hours on mundane, administrative tasks to focus more on innovation, said IDC’s Matt Eastwood, Group VP and GM. “The market is primed and ready for an infrastructure management platform that is more intuitive and built for the needs of IT today—not the days gone by.”

According to a new report from Gartner, this market is growing 50% annually. Its “Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems” report estimates the market for integrated systems, which includes single-vendor and multivendor converged infrastructures and hyper-converged infrastructures, will reach $6 billion this year.

That’s what makes Dell’s appliances interesting. Like HP, IBM and Oracle’s bundled solutions, Dell’s -specific appliances are designed to ‘accelerate the value customers get from their technology by simplifying the deployment and management of large-scale enterprise applications, while at the same time ensuring best-in-class performance, response times, and insights to critical business data.’

The company recently introduced joint partner solutions, reference architectures and certifications with Oracle, SAP, Red Hat and Microsoft, and now the appliances for the likes of Oracle (12c), Cloudera (In-Memory) and Nutanix (SDS). And this is just the beginning, said Sam Greenblatt, CTO, Dell Enterprise Solutions Group (and former CTO at HP and CA).

“This is the tip of the spear. We have lined up many appliances behind this.” Other bundled solutions in the works include BI, Microsoft and more with Oracle, he said.

Transitioning from a commodity box pusher to a one-stop shop for bundled hardware, software and services solutions that address some of the hottest markets is a pretty ambitious move. However, this is the company, led again by its founder, that revolutionized the PC market and rocketed to IT stardom by a relentless focus on giving the customers what they wanted. Clearly it is facing an uphill battle, but just as clearly, it has a proven formula that just might strike lightning again.

The Fiddly Bits (& Bytes)
Dell Acceleration Appliance for Databases is a pre-built, pre-integrated appliance designed to accelerate database environments including MySQL, Sybase, Microsoft SQL and MongoDB.
Dell Fluid Cache for SAN brings data closer to the server while improving application performance and reducing response times for scale-out workloads that require high levels of concurrent usage.
Dell Integrated Systems for Oracle 12c Database pre-bundles Dell infrastructure, with Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Fusion Applications.
Dell In-Memory Appliance for Cloudera Enterprise with Cloudera Enterprise, Cloudera’s enterprise data hub, and Intel’s performance and security optimized chipset, simplifies and speeds up otherwise complex Hadoop cluster deployments, enabling customers to gain critical business insights faster.
Dell XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances, powered by Nutanix, extends Dell’s software defined storage portfolio with plans to offer customers a new series of appliances, which combine compute, storage and networking into a single offering.
Dell Storage SC4000 Series arrays will debut with the enterprise-class Dell Storage SC4020, a 2U, 24-drive storage area network (SAN) that can scale to more than 400 terabytes of raw capacity.

Author: Steve Wexler

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