Dell Integrates Its Storage With Force10 Networking, Ocarina Compression

Dell is expanding its storage capabilities with the integration of recently acquired compression and networking technology, particularly from the company's Force10 purchase.

Dell on Wednesday unveiled the new storage technology integration a day before the opening of its Dell World conference, held this week in Austin, Texas.

The company plans to integrate networking technology from its August acquisition of networking vendor Force10 Networks into its Dell vStart virtualization infrastructure offering, said Brett Roscoe, executive director of data management solutions at Dell.

Dell is also looking to help customers handle their growing stores of unstructured software with the addition of compression technology from its July, 2010 acquisition of Ocarina Networks into its DX Object Storage Platform, Roscoe said.

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Dell early next year plans to integrate its Force10 networking technologies into its vStart virtualization solution, Roscoe said.

Dell vStart is aimed at accelerating and simplifying adoption of virtualization with a complete solution consisting of Dell PowerEdge servers, Dell EqualLogic storage, and networking technology. The vStart is available for 50, 100, or 200 virtual machines.

The vStart currently uses Dell's PowerConnect networking switches. However, starting next year, customers will also be able to use the Force10 switches and Compellent storage, Roscoe said.

As a result, customers will have accesses to more powerful pre-configured virtualization and cloud data center solutions, Roscoe said.

"vStart is a modular, rack-based solution," he said. "But it's flexible, and can offer different storage, server, networking, and software options. We compete with Cisco UCs and HP Matrix."

While Dell is pre-announcing the pending integration of the Force10 networking equipment in its vStart solutions, it may not be the first time that Force10 is integrated into other Dell solutions. Roscoe said Dell may unveil other integration points before the vStart Force10 solutions become available early next year.

On Tuesday, Dell unveiled a new node that uses Ocarina technology to add compression capabilities to the company's DX Object Storage Platform.

The DX Object Storage Platform focuses on the storage of unstructured content, Roscoe said.

"By bringing compression technology to the DX, customers can set policies by file type, age of data, or other metadata to determine what to compress," he said. "For e-mail data, we're seeing compression rates of 50 percent to 80 percent. For XML or HTM data, we're seeing compression rates of up to 92 percent."

Dell designed the node, which includes an x86-based server integrated with Ocarina software, to make it easy to add compression to the DX, Roscoe said.

"Just add it to the DX environment, set policies, and let it go," he said. "The compression happens as a background task. We make it easy for customers to use. And it doesn't impact overhead."

The Ocarina compression node is expected to be released next week with pricing starting at $25,000, including three years of services and support.

The DX Object Storage Platform currently is sold primarily through Dell's direct sales force, but will be increasingly available through Dell's channels going forward, Roscoe said.

The Force10 and Ocarina integration plans are the latest moves by Dell to integrate acquired technology into its existing storage technology since it unveiled its initial integrated offerings at the Dell Storage Forum in June, Roscoe said.

"At Dell Storage Forum, we announced that we're working really hard to integrate our acquisitions across the board," he said.

At that event, Dell kicked off its integration plans with its FS7500, a new appliance which integrated the company's Exanet technology to add saleable NAS capabilities to Dell's EqualLogic line line of SAN appliances.

Next: Adding AvePoint Software To Manage Archived Data

In addition to integrating the Ocarina compression technology into its DX Object Storage Platform, Dell is also partnering with AvePoint on technology for better managing archived data on the platform.

AvePoint, a Jersey City, N.J.-based developer of infrastructure management, on Tuesday unveiled a new partnership with Dell under which the AvePoint technology can be used with the DX Object Storage Platform to manage SharePoint archives, backup data, and BLOB (binary large object) data, said John Hodge, vice president of product management for global accounts at the software vendor.

Before the partnership, customers could manage such data using separate third-party software for SharePoint, backup, and BLOB data, including the AvePoint software, Hodge said.

"But this is the first time customers can now handle all three with one software," he said. "The DX is the first to handle all three types of data, and to add compression."

AvePoint offers solutions via other storage vendors that handle things like large object stores, cloud storage, and backup-based deduplication, Hodge said. "But Dell comes to us with one solution that is a single repository for all three using our software," he said.

The new software is available for trial use now, and is expected to be in production early next year, Hodge. said.