Dell, EMC, and VMware offer an arsenal of products related to converged and hyperconverged infrastructure. Today Dell is addressing some of that overlap by spelling out its plans on the hyperconverged side.
The company will continue reselling Nutanix gear, boxes that Dell calls its XC appliances. But Dell will also take advantage of what’s available from EMC subsidiaries VMware and VCE — an obvious move, given that Dell is in the process of acquiring EMC.
For Dell, it adds up to a diverse but united front to put up against competitors in hyperconverged infrastructure. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), in particular, has called out Nutanix on the hyperconverged front and claims to be taking data center convergence even further with Synergy, a platform for composable infrastructure.
The announcements are also meant to assert Dell’s breadth in this area, as its target customers range from DIY purists (think hyperscale cloud providers) to enterprises that want pre-assembled products. The goal is to span nearly the entire spectrum of options in the “build vs. buy” continuum, said Travis Vigil, executive director of product management, during a press conference Monday.
That breadth includes components that don’t come from Dell. For example, Dell will be reselling VCE’s products as-is, Vigil said — implying Cisco servers won’t be swapped out for Dell options. Michael Dell had promised customers in January that VCE would continue to work with Cisco.
Here’s what Dell is announcing today:
Appliances: Nutanix and VCE
Dell will also begin reselling VxRail appliances from VCE. These are designed with VMware environments and EMC storage in mind, and they just began shipping 44 days ago, Vigil said, adding that VCE has shipped 138 systems to 37 countries.
You might wonder what Dell/EMC would get out of having Dell sell VxRail as-is, considering VCE itself already does that. It’s about Dell having a longer reach in its sales and support channels, Vigil said.
Vigil confirmed that VxRail marks the end of EVO:RAIL, a converged-appliance design that VMware had announced in 2014. EVO:RAIL was only a design; VMware was offering it to OEMs to build. Now, though, VMware will turn its attention to VxRail. The company will stop developing EVO:RAIL software, and while Dell will keep selling EVO:RAIL appliances to the customers already using them, the company will steer other customers toward VSAN Ready Nodes (see below) and VxRail.
Looking at a larger scale, Dell will also resell the VCE VxRack FLEX 1000 and VxRack Node.
As the name implies, both are rack-sized products for large data centers. FLEX 1000 is a higher-end product than the XC appliances. It supports multiple hypervisors at once and grows to thousands of nodes, VCE claims. VxRack Node is a block of software-defined storage based on EMC’s ScaleIO software.
The DIY Crowd
For the hyperscale customers that prefer to assemble the pieces themselves, Dell plans to release an EMC-based reference architecture for converged infrastructure later this quarter. It amounts to using VxRack with Dell’s servers.
Dell is already one of a few OEMs for VMware’s Virtual SAN Ready Nodes, a hardware node preconfigured to run (you guessed it) VMware’s VSAN.