DEW17: Storage On Steroids (& Cloud and Networking)

LAS VEGAS: Digital transformation is the (current) be-all and end-all, but for IT vendors, it’s all about building and selling the products and services that facilitate the DT journey, and in the second segment of our preview of a plethora of pithy product pronouncements, Part 2 we look at Dell EMC’s more mundane announcements, while Part 3 will focus on the revolutionary new payment program that turns CapEx to OpEx and might even help reduce the fear of vendor lock-in.

As the dominant enterprise vendor, there were a number of announcements, including a heaping helping of software-defined storage news: a new release of ScaleIO; Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) platform updates; IsilonSD Edge enhancements; new and updated Dell EMC Ready Nodes; and a preview of Project Nautilus, a new software-defined solution for storing and analyzing high volumes of streaming IoT data. “While software-defined everything is a critical piece of IT transformation, the reality is that we’re still early with regard to the ability of enterprises to consume software-only offerings,” said Jeff Boudreau, President, Storage, Dell EMC, in a prepared statement. “Offering software-defined storage offerings for on-premises and the , in a variety of deployment models including ready nodes, allows us to meet customers where they are today and take them where they need to be as they transform their IT and their businesses.”

Available now are Dell EMC ScaleIO Ready Nodes and Dell EMC VMware vSAN Ready Nodes, with availability on the new PowerEdge servers scheduled for mid-2017. Dell EMC Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct Ready Nodes are scheduled for June, followed shortly on the servers, while Next, ScaleIO.Next, ECS Dedicated Cloud Service and IsilonSD Edge are also expected out soon.

If IT is now all about transformation, storage is all about flash, and the two are inseparable, noted Mark Peters, practice director & senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group, in a prepared statement. “… All-Flash and scale-out storage solutions — capable of delivering both the high performance and rich data services needed for today’s demanding applications — are critical elements for any enterprise that wants to achieve IT transformation.”

Dell EMC made a number of flashy announcements: the VMAX 950F, up to 4x faster than the nearest competitor; XtremIO X2 delivers new levels of efficiency for VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) and large scale snapshot use cases, with 3x higher capacity, 25% better storage efficiency on average and 80% better response times; Unity All-Flash storage models feature up to 4x larger file system capacity, 8x increase in density and sub 10-minute deployment; SC5020 midrange hybrid storage array offers up to 45% more IOPS, 2x greater capacity and market’s lowest hybrid array $/GB; and a new generation of Isilon platforms that deliver up to 9x the IOPs, 18x the throughput and 21x the capacity of the closest competitor. VMAX 950F will be generally available in June, XtremIO X2 this summer, Unity All-Flash models in July and both SC5020 Isilon platforms are orderable this month and will be available in June.

Storing data is only part of the challenge: you also have to be able to protect the data. This week Dell EMC addressed DP with a number of announcements: four data protection appliances (34 TB to 1 PB usable capacity) that converge storage, protection software, search and analytics in a single, easy-to-deploy solution that is up to 10X faster time to protect than traditional build your own data protection deployment alternatives and 20% faster performance than the closest competitor; and Disaster Recovery to the cloud and Protection Storage in the cloud.   

For those who are cloud-bound — and who isn’t? — there is what Michael Dell calls a “cloud in a box”, the VxRail 4.5, as well as new VDI and a cloud-like consumption model for on-premises HCI (Dell Financial Services Cloud Flex for HCI) with monthly payments and no upfront costs or obligation after the first year. VxRail Appliances 4.5 will be GA in September, VxRack FLEX updates in July, XC430 Xpress in June, and VxRack SDDC updates, Data Protection support and XC Series with Pivotal Cloud Foundry reference architectures, and DFS Cloud Flex for HCI and Dell EMC VDI Complete Solutions are available now.

Dell EMC may not be the first company you think of when it comes to — or even the second or third — but it is an important part of its portfolio, which got an upgrade this week with: the ‘industry’s first’ 25GbE Open Networking top-of-rack switch with more than 2x in-rack throughput of 10GbE switches; the company’s first optimized Open Networking platform for unified storage network switching with support for 16Gb/32Gb Fibre Channel; and, a new family of energy-efficient and cost-effective Open Networking switches intended to enable SMB workforce transformation. In addition it announced new networking and IoT services, with everything expected to be available starting now (IoT Technology Advisory Services) through ’ fiscal 2018 third quarter (Dell EMC S5100-ON series 25GbE Open Networking switch).

DISCLAIMER: Dell EMC looked after airfare and hotel; and some of the companies mentioned in this article are in my investment portfolio.

Author: Steve Wexler

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