By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. October 21, 2015
In technology and many other industries, substantial challenges can result in material opportunities. Consider the pressure that cloud providers like Amazon’s AWS are placing on traditional IT vendors. The “race to the bottom” pricing of public cloud services is certainly attractive to businesses hoping to improve the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their IT investments.
But at the same time, much of cloud’s value derives from quick scalability, simple to use interfaces and ease of management. Toss in the growing interest in hybrid cloud, where companies utilize public cloud resources yet reserve some data and applications for private data centers, and a clear case arises for commercial IT solutions that support cloud-like cost-efficiency and scalability.
We’ve seen a number of such offerings arise during the past few years, including converged solutions for highly virtualized cloud-style deployment/management and appliances optimized for specific applications and workloads. Most of these leverage conventional blade- or rack-based servers.
But as seen this week at Dell World 2015 in Austin, Texas, the company has gone a step further by developing high-density systems specifically designed to pack maximal compute performance into a minimal footprint. In addition, Dell is working closely with one of its prime partners that’s also a disruptive public cloud player – Microsoft and its Azure platform – to develop affordable, easy to deploy hybrid cloud solutions for mid-market customers.
Flying Dell’s DSS banner
Dell’s new high-density offerings follow an announcement in August of a new Dell Datacenter Scalable Solutions (DSS) LOB in its Enterprise Solutions organization. The aim of the group is to meet the specific needs of web tech, telcos, hosting companies, oil and gas players and research organizations that need access to high-density/performance solutions that stand anywhere from somewhat to well beyond the bounds of conventional systems.
The new DSS-branded offerings include:
- The DSS 7000 storage server, which Dell says is the industry’s densest such device with up to 720 TBs of storage in a single 4U chassis
- DSS 1500, DSS 1510 and DSS 2500; 1U and 2U servers that have been purpose-built for specific workload needs
- The all-flash Storage SC9000 storage array combines high performance with low cost (as little as $0.65-per-gigabyte net effective capacity)
- Dell XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances, designed to reduce TCO and streamline datacenters
- Next-gen Dell Data Protection/Rapid Recovery software, engineered with cloud recovery and integrating Dell’s AppAssure and other IP designed to eliminate downtime, and
- Dell ProDeploy Enterprise Suite, which includes three data center deployment services, plus full training and certification services
A solid foundation
So what do we make of Dell’s new DSS solutions and services? First and foremost, that they are based on a solid foundation of proven offerings. In 2007, Dell was the first commercial vendor to launch a LOB dedicated to hyperscale data center technologies – the Data Center Solutions (DCS) division – so Dell DSS qualifies as an evolutionary step forward.
But DSS also leverages assets and skills that have long been essential qualities at Dell. First, is the focus on industry standard components, including Intel microprocessors that play critical roles in the strategies and success of cloud vendors and other hyperscale players. Dell was the first systems vendor to focus exclusively on Intel x86 and the company remains a leading partner of complementary technology vendors, including VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat, Oracle and many others.
That foundation also includes software and services related to DSS. Since Michael Dell’s return as CEO in 2007, the company has measurably expanded its software portfolio through external acquisitions and internal development. That, in turn, is visible in the new DSS Data Protection/Rapid Recovery solutions.
Similarly, Dell’s new ProDeploy offerings follow a longstanding tradition in the company’s services group – to engage directly with clients, get in/out effectively and deliver maximum value. That should measurably enhance the time to value of DSS solutions, but it also means that customers’ TCO won’t be impacted by unanticipated long-term services expenses.
The Microsoft Azure connection
The new Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft is designed to substantially reduce the complexity, cost and security issues that have restrained hybrid cloud deployments. Built on optimized Dell modular hardware with pre-configured Microsoft Cloud Platform System software, the new Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft includes services from both Dell (ProSupport and Managed Cloud Services) and Microsoft (Azure Services for back-up, site recovery and operational insights).
The result is a solution that can be quickly deployed, supports services that are easily accessed, consumed and managed, and minimizes downtime and customer risk. The new offerings can also be purchased with a new payment solution – Dell Cloud Flex Pay – which the company designed to accelerate cloud adoption.
In essence, Cloud Flex Pay allows customers to take delivery of a Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft, and deploy and use it for an initial six-month term. At that point, customers can extend the evaluation period, continue to use the solution, return it to Dell or take ownership of it. For businesses holding off on cloud deployments due to concerns, like underuse and unanticipated demand, Dell Cloud Flex Pay can provide valuable planning and hybrid cloud experience while also minimizing investment risk.
Overall, both the new Dell Datacenter Scalable Solutions and the Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft find the company continuing to do what it has done very well for a very long time. That includes maximizing the value of its longtime focus on off-the-shelf components and innovative manufacturing processes, but also extends to more recent explorations in external acquisitions and internal R&D, and to working creatively with key partners.
Most importantly, the new solutions reflect Dell’s unwavering focus on the needs of its existing and potential customers. There are very good reasons that so many businesses have been attracted to the cost benefits of public cloud. With the help of Dell and its new solutions and services, the company’s customers will be able to capture many of those same innovations inside their own data centers, and work more effectively with the public cloud.
© 2015 Pund-IT, Inc. All rights reserved.