Dell Expands Nutanix-Based Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Line

Dell's XC730xd

Dell Wednesday expanded its hyper-converged infrastructure appliance line with two new models based on its latest server hardware combined with Nutanix's software stack.

The two new appliances combine the hyper-converged infrastructure software stack from Nutanix, with which Dell last year signed an OEM contract, with Dell's latest 13th-generation servers, said Travis Vigil, executive director of Dell Storage.

Dell's original Nutanix-based hyper-converged infrastructure appliances shipped starting in November based on Dell's 12th-generation servers, Vigil said.

[Related: EMC Unveils Long-Awaited Hyper-Converged Infrastructure: VSPEX BLUE]

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"We wanted to get to market with them as soon as possible," he told CRN. "We could do it with our 12th-generation servers. But with the rest of the Dell portfolio moving to the 13th-generation servers, we want to do the same with our Web-scale converged appliances as well."

Dell has so far sold more than 100 of the first-generation Nutanix-based appliances, about half of which have gone through Dell's indirect sales channels. Vigil said that compares to about 40 percent of storage revenue coming via indirect channels in the past couple of quarters.

"Selling over 100 of the appliances in the first couple months was beyond our expectations," he said. "We also had a lot of customers looking at the initial versions based on the 12th-generation servers as proofs-of-concept while looking at when we would start using the 13th-generation servers."

There are two new models in the Dell hyper-converged infrastructure lineup.

The first is the XC730xd, which is based on Dell's PowerEdge R730xd rack-mount server platform. The XC730xd, based on Intel Xeon E5 2600 v3 processors, fits up to 32 TB of storage capacity in a 2U enclosure, or about 60 percent more capacity than the previous model based on the PowerEdge R720xd servers, Vigil said.

The second model, the XC630, is based on Dell's 1U PowerEdge R630 platform, and can be configured with up to 9.6 TB of storage capacity.

"The XC630's 1U chassis is attractive for customers with limited rack space, for example in a remote office," Vigil said. "It is also the first 1U Web-scale appliance from anyone in the market."

The imminent release of the new Dell hyper-converged infrastructure appliances is welcome news, said Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and Dell channel partner.

NEXT: Channel View Of Dell's New Hyper-converged Infrastructure Appliances

"We're a Dell-exclusive partner, and so we don't use the Supermicro servers the Nutanix appliances are based on," Mavenspire's Tanenhaus told CRN. "Our biggest frustration was, because of the timing, that Dell started with the 12th-generation servers, not the 13th-generation servers. We told customers to wait for the 13th-generation servers."

Dell's use of the R730xd servers in its hyper-converged infrastructure appliances makes sense not only in terms of the new processor but in terms of the large capacity available, Tanenhaus said.

"Nutanix on the Supermicro platform is limited in terms of storage capacity," he said. With Dell, customers will get up to 32 TB of raw capacity, or 16 TB of capacity with another 16 TB to hold copies of data for other nodes. The extra capacity from Dell provides a better fit for more types of workloads."

The new Dell hyper-converged infrastructure appliances are slated to ship with the availability of the new 13th-generation servers some time in March.

The XC730xd will be list-priced starting at about $50,000 with three years of Dell ProSupport, while the XC630 will list starting at $38,000 with three years of Dell ProSupport. Customers can also opt for one or two years of Dell ProSupport, Vigil said.

While Tanenhaus said he typically coaches clients to purchase IT solutions with three years or five years of support to match their depreciation schedules, he is happy to see Dell offer the one-year and two-year options.

"Some clients like the one-year option because of level run-rate costs," he said. "Some also like to compare the cost of one-year and three-years Dell ProSupport."