Dell Unleashes Data Center Blitz With Oracle, Fusion-io, Nutanix Appliances

In a bold move that signals Dell is serious about driving deeper into the enterprise, the Round Rock, Texas-based company is adding new data center offerings to its enterprise arsenal that include a swath of IT appliances in partnership with Oracle, Cloudera, Fusion-io and Nutanix.

At its Dell User Forum in Hollywood, Fla. Tuesday, Marius Haas, Dell's chief commercial officer and president of enterprise solutions, unveiled the workload-specific solutions that will be rolled out later this year. The product blitz is the biggest yet for the $60 billion IT giant as a private company and one that makes good on Chairman and CEO Michael Dell's promise to transform his company into an enterprise channel powerhouse.

Haas said the new data-center-in-a-box offerings were aimed at simplifying deployment of complex IT solutions for SMBs and the enterprise.

"We do this in part by helping businesses quickly, reliably and cost-effectively stand up tier-one applications, and the appliances and integrated systems announced today help accelerate the value customers can get from their technology," Haas said. "Dell is on an accelerated journey as an end-to-end solutions and services provider. The business strategy is not changing and we remain singularly focused on achieving this result. We know customers have too much complexity in their data centers and want operational and management simplicity. That’s our sweet spot."

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Dell added four workload-specific appliances beginning with the pre-built and pre-integrated Dell Acceleration Appliance for Databases designed to accelerate MySQL, Sybase, Microsoft SQL and MongoDB database environments. This offering includes Dell PowerEdge servers, Dell storage and Dell networking, with application acceleration technology from Fusion-io to improve database performance.

Dell is working with Fusion-io, which was recently acquired by SanDisk for $1 billion, to leverage its expertise in flash memory to help customers shorten application response times for near-real-time business insight into data pools, Dell said.

Building on its Oracle relationship, Dell also unveiled the Dell Integrated Systems for Oracle 12c Database appliance that accelerates current Oracle 12c cloud-centric database environments. Dell claims its offering running on Dell hardware delivers faster response time at significant cost savings compared with other non-Oracle database appliances.

Dell also unveiled a Dell In-Memory Appliance for Cloudera Enterprise optimized to tackle big data enterprise Hadoop challenges. The highly scalable Dell hardware appliance is aimed at the near 85 percent of Hadoop deployments used to warehouse data, said Sam Greenblatt, CTO, Dell Enterprise Solutions Group. "We think we are going to surprise the market with the most comprehensive scale-out in-memory appliance for Hadoop," Greenblatt said.

NEXT: New Dell Storage Solutions Aim To Take On VCE

In partnership with red-hot converged infrastructure company Nutanix, Dell is rolling out an XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances around storage solutions. The software-defined appliances combine compute, storage and networking into a single package. The Dell-branded appliance will be based on Dell PowerEdge hardware. Dell says it has big ambitions for the converged solutions it hopes will go head-to-head with similar offerings from VCE, a VMware-Cisco-EMC joint venture.

On Tuesday Dell also said it would bring its SC4000 midtier storage array to the U.S. market. In March, Dell unveiled availability of the SC4000 storage hardware to the channel market in the Asia-Pacific region. With the introduction of the SC4000, Dell is taking its flagship Compellent array and dropping the cost for the SMB market, with prices ranging from $25,000 to $50,000.

Dell describes the SC4000 as a smaller-form-factor and more affordable version of its SC8000. Where the SC8000 featured a 6U box configuration, the SC4000 has a 2U box, dual-processor, supports flash and spinning disks.

Dell’s branded version of the XC converged appliance will be available in the fourth quarter and will feature Dell hardware and support. Dell's Fusion-io acceleration, Oracle and Cloudera appliances will each be available in the second half of 2014.

Dell's focus on delivering appliance-based solutions integrated and optimized for specific workloads is one of the fastest-growing segments of the IT industry, according to market-research firm IDC.

"This is a very radical departure from what you have seen at Dell before," Dell's Greenblatt said. "This is a completely new initiative. We are making it easier for customers to deploy technology in a modular fashion so they can scale up and out without disrupting their data center."

Also at the Dell User Forum, Dell unveiled a new Windows Server 2003 Migration Service ahead of the July 2015 support deadline for Windows Server 2003. The new migration options are aimed at helping companies analyze and optimize large-seat migrations with minimum impact on day-to-day business. Dell is targeting Windows Server 2003 users looking to transition workloads to the Microsoft Azure cloud or Windows Server 2012 R2.

’There is no single migration plan that suits all workloads. Dell Services provides unique solutions to help rank and classify your Windows Server migration pathway based on critical business needs,’ wrote Joe Schoenbaechler, Dell’s vice president, infrastructure consulting services, in a prepared statement.