Dell Management Console, Hardware Simplify Infrastructure


The 11G PowerEdge servers from Dell and EqualLogic PS6000 storage units are all built on Intel's Nehalem architecture and are designed to reduce the pain points that crop up in IT shops every day. According to Dell, the mission presented to the research and development teams was to design products that optimize the overall computing environment. Rolled out in tandem with the hardware was the Dell Management Console, a vendor-neutral platform that can manage infrastructure in customer shops.

"The world runs on servers and storage," said Steve Schuckenbrock, president of global large enterprise, Dell. "The 11G PowerEdge Server and PS6000 EqualLogic storage device were designed to reduce total cost of ownership instead of being designed to the technology."

Further enhancement to virtualization and consolidation technologies were two objectives Dell wanted to achieve with the 11G PowerEdge Server. Steve Hassel, vice president and CIO, Emerson Electric, and his company were chosen to be beta partners who tested the 11G PowerEdge.

"There's a big play from the virtualization standpoint," Hassel said. "We're building our own private cloud and have been able to cut a substantial number of servers." Steve Hipskind, president of Hipskind Technology Solutions Group, a Hinsdale, Ill.-based solution provider, believes the virtualization push that Dell and the 11G PowerEdge Servers are bringing to customers will help them get the most out of infrastructure.

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"Having product designed around virtualization will help customers get the most out of their infrastructure because they are using capacity to its fullest," Hipskind said. "It is going to come down to efficiencies. The more a customer can control their investments to achieve the highest and best use, the more efficiently a shop is going to run."

In addition to the hardware benefits, Dell stressed the importance of the Dell Management Console, which was developed in a partnership with Symantec and released Wednesday.

"Today, most environments contend with multiple management consoles, depending on the function," said Brad Anderson, senior vice president, enterprise group, Dell. "These separate pieces can form a big expense for customers."

The Dell Management Console provides the benefit of working on non-Dell and Dell equipment. The decision to be vendor-agnostic, according to Anderson, came because the computer manufacturer realized that as it entered the enterprise market it would have work in shops with gear from other vendors.

"The Dell Management Console is the most extensible systems management tool in the market," said Greg Hughes, enterprise group president, Symantec, whose team worked with Dell to develop the system. "The console will manage work flow across processes, automate infrastructure and manage systems."

Sean Phelan, director of the Americas advanced solution group, Dell, sees an opportunity for solution providers to use the Dell Management Console as a way to create and maintain infrastructure.

Symantec and Microsoft, for example, are writing plug-ins for the management console to ensure that it works across a range of products and systems and is vendor-agnostic, Phelan said.

"It seems that most companies these days are spread out," Hipskind said. "Having that 'single pane of glass' looking at an entire infrastructure allows solution providers to maximize investments within a customer's entire infrastructure."

The fact that the Dell Management Console doesn't discriminate among vendors is important to Hipskind because it allows his company to deliver lower total cost of ownership to customers. After all, solution providers don't always have the luxury of providing customers with a single brand of hardware.

"In the economic environment we're in right now, it's about total cost of ownership," Hipskind said. "Centrally managed IT infrastructure is going to help customers maximize investments and plan future investments. The management console will help customers save money and be efficient at the same time."

The centralized management capability of the Dell Management Console has the added benefit of ensuring that customers don't go overboard with virtualization.

According to Phelan, the management console will help monitor and deploy the right amount of virtual machines for customers. By deploying the right number of virtual machines and getting the proper plug-ins for the management console, solution providers can keep licensing costs down for customers, he said.

"The console will help make sure customers are only deploying the virtual machines they need and purchasing software licenses as needed. Some customers probably don't have an idea of how many virtual machines are actually running in their data center," Phelan said.