Dell plans to expand its Exanet scalable NAS technology, which currently has been integrated with its EqualLogic and PowerVault lines, to its Compellent line, George said.
"For the first time, we'll have scalable file systems across all three product lines," he said. "Customers will be able to move files across all three lines. However, that does not mean providing a single cluster across the three lines."
George left the possibility of clustering across multiple Dell storage lines open. "It's on the planning horizon, " he said. "I can't give a time frame. It depends on customer demand. If customers say they see a lot of value, we can do it pretty quickly."
2012 will also be a big year for dedupe at Dell, George said.
The company early this week kicked off its dedupe plans for year with the introduction of its DR4000 dedupe appliance, its first based on its Ocarina technology.
"Over 2012, you will see Ocarina in other Dell products as well," George said. "Our eventual goal is to have it in all Dell storage products, including our backup, primary storage, archiving, and cloud offerings."
Dell also plans to take advantage of its server, storage, and networking technology to significantly increase its presence in the converged infrastructure market.
Converged infrastructure is a way to integrate multiple IT technologies, such as servers, storage, networking equipment, virtualization, and/or software applications into a larger solution.
George said that Dell this year will combine its Compellent storage line with Dell servers, Force10 networking gear, and related software into new vStart bundles that will help the company target the market currently dominated by Hewlett-Packard and Cisco. The company also has a similar VStart bundle with its EqualLogic storage line, but George said such a bundle centered on Compellent would be heftier.
"We're tying our servers closely with our networking and storage in an end-to-end fashion," he said. "VStart is a completely working configuration in which Force10 automatically recognizes storage and data traffic."
2012 will also see a focus on tying PCIe Flash memory modules to its servers and storage to boost performance, George said.
"There will be PCIe cards in the market providing tremendous performance in servers," he said. "But we're looking at how to coordinate that with the storage on the back end. Today, we can add PCIe Flash memory to Dell servers, but that only serves as local storage for the server. While customers are now looking at how to best use it, we will be offering intelligence that would enable it to act together with external storage."
When asked whether that means Dell will be partnering with high-performance Flash memory vendors like Fusion-io, George said the company will be able to offer customers choices for the technology.
George said converging different types of data protection technologies including backups, replication, and archiving is also a big opportunity for Dell in 2012, but in this area he was less specific in terms of actual plans.
"Customers today have many, many multiple copies of their data thanks to backups, replications, and snapshots," he said. "That means big opportunities to converge replication, backup, and archiving into one giant pool. This won't be a single product. But customers will know they don't have to spread their data out as much as it was in the past."
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