Dell Unveils New Converged Infrastructure, Integrates VMware VSAN

Dell Tuesday unveiled a new converged infrastructure strategy with the introduction of a platform designed to provide flexible options to meet the widest range of customer requirements.

That platform, the Dell Validated System for Virtualization, provides a full range of customization options targeting a wide range of on-premise and cloud applications, said Glenn Keels, executive director of product management for engineered systems, high performance computing, and cloud at Dell, Round Rock, Texas.

Nearly six years of experience in converged infrastructure solutions have showed Dell there is a huge need in the middle part of the market between hyper-converged infrastructure and reference architectures where channel partners can leverage their existing integration, deployment and services capabilities, Keels told CRN.

[Related: 23 Powerful Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Products]

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"In between is a missing middle where customers don't have to compromise their existing policies," he said. "There's a need for form-factor-independent platforms that are easy to deploy, with some options, but still driven by automation."

Dell's answer is the Dell Validated System for Virtualization, a series of converged infrastructure appliances built around the company's PowerEdge servers or FX2 server chassis, SC-series storage appliances or raw hard drives and SSDs, and Dell or Brocade networking.

Management, monitoring, orchestration and data protection are accomplished by various Dell tools and applications.

The two primary storage options for the Dell Validated System for Virtualization are either iSCSI or Fibre Channel Dell SC-series arrays, formerly known as Compellent, and VMware's VSAN software-defined storage technology, Keels said. The first versions will feature VSAN, he said.

At this week's VMworld conference, Dell is demonstrating a four-node solution based on VSAN 6.2, and showing how it can be downsized to a three-node solution and configured for SQL databases.

Dell appears to be looking at what comes beyond converged and hyper-converged infrastructure, said Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and Dell partner.

"Dell is starting to pull together the next generation of pre-validated, pre-configured systems," he said. "It's starting small. But it will grow in the future."

The Dell Validated System for Virtualization will be sized according to the number of virtual machines supported, with versions supporting up to 200, 600 and 1,300 virtual machines available. Configuration options include hyper-converged infrastructure, he said.

Actual configuration will be based on customer requirements, Keels said.

The solutions can be configured by Dell Services before shipping, or in the field by customers or channel partners. "Channel partners can exploit their existing delivery and services capabilities to open new revenue streams," he said.

The Dell Validated System for Virtualization will not compete with Dell's hyper-converged infrastructure solutions, including models based on the Nutanix software stack and on VMware's VxRail software, Keels said.