Dell Aims High In Data Center With Converged Ethernet, Storage Products

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Dell is making a bid to move higher up the data center infrastructure ladder with the introduction of 10GbE for its EqualLogic storage appliances, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) for converged networks, and improved management software.

Dell on Thursday introduced the new storage, networking, and management solutions as a way to create a dynamic, flexible data center infrastructure.

The company estimated that the adoption of 10-Gbit Ethernet (10GbE) can cut networking acquisition costs by up to 50 percent by using the technology to combine data networking and storage networking into a single unified fabric.

That is also the goal of FCoE, which allows IP and storage networks to be built using a single fabric to replace the traditional LAN and SAN found in most data centers. With FCoE, IP and storage traffic go from servers to other servers or to storage devices using converged network adaptors (CNAs) that replace the traditional LAN adaptor and storage networking adaptor.

To help customers build 10GbE infrastructures, Dell on Thursday introduced its first 1U 10GbE switch, the Dell PowerConnect 8024F, which features 24 10GbE ports and the ability to carry both LAN and iSCSI storage traffic.

Also new from Dell is a dual-port CNA from QLogic which can be used with Dell PowerEdge servers to connect them to the LAN or to Fibre Channel SANs.

Dell also said it plans to introduce new data center networking solutions, including a FCoE switch, security, iSCSI, and Converged Enhanced Ethernet, thanks to the recent technology agreement it signed with Brocade.

For storage, Dell introduced 10GbE controllers for its EqualLogic PS6000 series storage arrays, giving them up to 10 times the bandwidth of its older models with GbE controllers.

Dell also unveiled the EqualLogic PS6500X array which uses new 10,000-rpm SAS drives to scale to up to 460 TBs of capacity per array group.

On the management side, Dell introduced the Dell Advanced Infrastructure Manager software which dynamically allocates workloads by altering server, networking, and storage devices in heterogeneous environments in order to quickly deploy new physical and virtual servers, cut the number of failover servers required, and shift new applications to new servers as needed.

Also new is Dell Lifecycle Controller, an embedded management solution available in the newest PowerEdge servers to ease deployment and maintenance by providing remote discovery of new servers, updating of server drivers and operating systems, and downloading new firmware.

The Advanced Infrastructure Manager, EqualLogic PS6500X, PowerConnect 8024F switch, and related new consulting services are available immediately, Dell said.

The new 10GbE EqualLogic storage arrays, the QLogic FCoE CNAs, and the Brocade products are slated to be released between December and February.

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