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Dell’s PowerOne Infrastructure Is ‘What Customers Are Screaming For’

‘I’m giddy over the automation of PowerOne,’ says Paul Clifford, president and co-founder of Davenport Group.

Dell Technologies is taking converged infrastructure to the next level with its new PowerOne autonomous infrastructure that combines all of Dell EMC’s flagship infrastructure products together with VMware vSphere in a single architecture wrapped in a new built-in, outcome oriented automation engine.

“I’m excited to take this to customers because this is truly a powerful addition to the skillset for the IT folks. I’m giddy over the automation of PowerOne,” said Paul Clifford, president and co-founder of Davenport Group, a St. Paul, Minn.-based top Dell Technologies partner. “Dell is simplifying the environment. They’re automating it. Automation through virtualization is a marvelous thing. Everybody is working to do it. Dell has brought a solution set here that just makes life easier in IT. If you make life easier in IT, you’ve got a loyal customer because their jobs are difficult on a daily basis to stay on top of everything. PowerOne goes right to the heart of taking care of those issues. I just smile because this is what customers are screaming for.”

Dell EMC PowerOne contains the company’s infrastructure product lines including PowerEdge MX modular servers, PowerSwitch open networking, PowerMax storage and PowerProtect data protection along with VMware vSphere virtualizing which is all deployed, managed and maintained holistically.

[Related: Here Are Dell’s Top 5 Highest-Paid Executives]

The special sauce in the autonomous infrastructure is its built-in intelligent automation engine, dubbed PowerOne Controller, which can automate thousands of tasks with the ability to have vSphere clusters available for workloads in just a few clicks. The PowerOne Controller uses a Kubernetes microservices architecture and Ansible workflows to automate the configuration, provision and lifecycle management of the components to create a customer-managed data center as a service.

“We’ve taken the over a decade of experience we have in converged infrastructure and embedded all of our best practices into a built-in automation engine inside PowerOne,” said Jon Siegal, vice president, product marketing, Dell EMC Networking and Solutions in an interview with CRN. “It goes well beyond just automating tasks, it actually automates infrastructure outcomes. Everything about PowerOne is designed to simplify IT operations. Users can choose a desired outcome, then PowerOne orchestrates the rest to achieve that outcome.”

For example, if the user wants to create a workload ready VMware cluster, they can simply enter a couple key aspects of the outcome they desire in terms of the amount of compute, memory and capacity. “Then based on all our best practices that we’ve baked-in, we then use intelligent algorithms to calculate what the best configuration is, and then go automate that configuration on the backend,” he said.

PowerOne provides a single system-level API to give users the control to create business objective pools of recourses. The API can be tied into existing tools such as service portals to delver programmable – versus manual – operations. This type of infrastructure as code eliminates the need to log-in to individual component management systems.

“By automating 98 percent of the tasks across storage, compute, networking, etc. the user actually no longer needs to login to the individual component management system anymore. They can if they want, but they don’t need to,” said Siegal. “This really changes the game.”

Rick Gouin, chief technology officer, at Winslow Technology Group, a Waltham, Mass.-based Dell partner, said the “slick” PowerOne offering validates Winslow’s and his customer’s strategic investment around leveraging automation solutions from the likes of Ansible and VMware to solve business outcomes.

“They’re trying to leverage these tools, in many cases, with the same infrastructure today – with varying degrees of success. This is providing them an outcome where they’re able to get the value out of all of this innovative new software -- automation, Kubernetes microservices, etc. – without having to spend all their time learning how to do it,” said Gouin. “This is a purpose-built delivery as an outcome [architecture] where they’re able to go straight to the value instead of reinventing the wheel.”

Gouin said PowerOne will be a “competitive differentiator for Dell” because its all wrapped in Dell IP.

“That saves customers a whole bunch of time rather than looking at piecing their own infrastructure together from a whole bunch of different vendors and parts and pieces. They also need to be worry about how they’re going to automate it themselves,” said Gouin. “With PowerOne, they can buy this in one stack, pre-built and get straight into doing the important stuff.”

In terms of channel opportunities, Siegal said partners can provider provide services around delivery and resale as well as add their own additional services. “This addition to our portfolio now puts the partner in the driver seat as a trusted advisor to provide the ultimate choice for customers who are looking to simplify their on-premise operations for their hybrid cloud strategy,” said Siegal.

In early 2020, Dell will create a PowerOne Services Delivery Competency to provide partners with the training and tools to sell the new autonomous architecture.

PowerOne is also available as a validated design for the Dell Technologies Cloud. In the future, it will be integrated with VMware Cloud Foundation, according to Siegal. The new architecture will not replace any of Dell’s existing converged infrastructure solutions such as VxRail.

PowerOne is included the company’s new Dell Technologies On Demand program that will allow customers to buy the architecture in a variety of Opex consumption-based and as-a-service offerings. Partners will be able to sell PowerOne in a plethora of ways including pay as you grow and metering.

Davenport’s Clifford said PowerOne will significantly help the channel drive sales as customers seek to reduce complexity in a hybrid cloud world. It also will help customers save money through innovative automation and enable partners to focus on higher level services for clients.

“By reducing the amount of time we have to spend on a customer site, it reduces their overall expense and increases our ability to provide better and new services,” said Clifford. “Our goal is to make our customer experience fantastic. A solution like this will definitely help that and allow us to get a better relationship with the customer to help them in other ways. They’ll have more time and more dollars available to go do something else – that’s important. PowerOne’s ability to do things rapidly and in an uncomplex way is a powerful tool.”

Dell EMC PowerOne will become globally available on Nov. 22, 2019.

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