Dell Targets HP, Cisco With New Blade Arrays, Converged Infrastructure

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Dell EqualLogic PS-M4110

Dell upped its ability to compete head-to-head against Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems in the data center with the unveiling Monday of its converged infrastructure offering, which combines Dell servers, networking and a new blade version of its EqualLogic storage products, all of which can be managed as a whole within a single enclosure.

The new converged offerings were introduced on the opening day of Dell's second annual Dell Storage Forum, held this week in Boston.

Converged infrastructure refers to tying server, storage and IP networking into an integrated solution in order to give customers a single vendor source for building data centers and moving towards cloud computing.

[Related: Data Center Decision: Converged Infrastructure Vs. Best-Of-Breed]

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell is a relative newcomer to the converged infrastructure business, following such competitors as Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP and its Matrix offering, and San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, which matches its UCS server and networking architecture with storage from either Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NetApp or Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC.

Dell's new converged infrastructure offering, the Dell Converged Blade Data Center solution, combines the company's new EqualLogic Blade Arrays, its latest Dell PowerEdge blade servers and Dell's Force10 MXL 40-Gbit-per-second blade switches, all within the same enclosure.

The fact that all the parts are contained in the same Dell blade chassis and managed by the same software is a big part of what makes the Dell Converged Blade Data Center solution both unique and very competitive, said Brad Anderson, senior vice president of Dell's Enterprise Product Group.

The solution includes the industry's first 40-Gbit switch in a blade form factor, the first quarter-height enterprise server blades designed for maximum performance density and the first enterprise-class storage solutions designed for blade enclosures, and it comes with software to manage it all within the enclosure, Anderson said.

"Cisco's offering is centered on the fabric and network, but its compute products are relatively new," he said. "And in the storage market, Cisco is absent. So, most of its management is focused on simplifying the network."

HP, on the other hand, has been in the converged infrastructure market for a long time, Anderson said. "As a result, HP has added to its blade environment over the years," he said. "Maybe too much. The fact is, HP has been in this forever but has no enterprise storage blade and no 40-Gbit networking uplink. They're not taking a converged point of view."

NEXT: Positioning Dell Converged Infrastructure In The Midrange

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