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Dell EMC Brings Azure Stack To Channel Partners, Improves Hyper-V Support For Its XC Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Dell EMC, which has been selling Azure Stack directly to customers for some time, is bringing the on-premises cloud offering to channel partners.

Dell EMC is bringing Microsoft Azure Stack to its channel partners with a wide range of data protection and other services.

The company Wednesday also unveiled new data protection and Microsoft software integrations with its XC-series of hyper-converged infrastructure appliances, which are based on the Nutanix software stack, and expanded its Dell EMC Ready offerings with new server hardware and Microsoft SQL Server.

The new offerings were unveiled at the Microsoft Ignite 2017 event happening this week in Orlando, Fla.

[Related: 15 Hot Products Unleashed At Dell EMC World 2017]

Dell EMC is the first system vendor to bring Azure Stack to its indirect channel partners, said Armughan Ahmad, senior vice president and general manager for the company's hybrid cloud and Ready solutions.

Azure Stack is an extension of Microsoft Azure in which the capabilities of the public Azure cloud are brought into a customers' data center via integration on on-premises hardware.

"Back in May, we were way ahead of the pack when we announced Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack," Ahmad told CRN. "Cisco and HPE introduced their own offerings this week. But now we are announcing that we not only are shipping our Azure Stack offering, but that channel partners can get them through Dell EMC."

Dell EMC is further differentiating its Azure Stack offering with its own technology for full life-cycle management, Ahmad said.

"We can now run Pivotal, Data Domain and Avamar on top of Azure Stack," he said. "That's our big differentiation. We also incorporate encryption. And for customers who want both public and private access to Azure, we are making sure their partners can provide the same user experience in both."

Ahmad said he expects traditional channel partners to sell Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack to customers using their own services or services provided by Dell EMC. Channel partners who host customer services can use the offering as part of those services. And systems integrators can deploy Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack on their own premises and provide to customers as a service, he said.

This is a significant move from Dell EMC, said Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and longtime Dell EMC channel partner.


"This is a combination on-premises infrastructure and Azure Stack," Mavenspire's Tanenhaus said. "Dell EMC is bringing all the billing from both sides through its partners. This lets us cash in on the whole opportunity. This is better than working with AWS, where the billing is done between AWS and the client unless it's via a distribution where the client doesn't know they're using AWS."

Dell EMC is also enhancing its Dell EMC hyper-converged infrastructure appliances with the new Dell EMC XC Series Data Protection Management Console.

The new console, launched from the XC Series management interface, brings Dell EMC Avamar VE (virtual edition) data protection to XC clusters, and lets data on the appliances be backed up to Dell EMC Data Domain, Dell EMC's Ahmad said. It also allows cloud tiering using Virtustream and Microsoft Azure, he said.

Also new is optimization for Microsoft Windows 2016 Hyper-V and Azure, including support for Hyper-V with insights into XC Series clusters, he said.

Dell EMC's increased support for Microsoft Hyper-V and Azure on the XC series is important as customers increasingly adopt Hyper-V, said Rick Gouin, chief technology officer at Winslow Technology Group, a Boston-based solution provider and longtime Dell EMC channel partner.

"Until now, Hyper-V with XC has not seen the strongest use cases," Gouin told CRN. "VMware ESX and Nutanix's own Acropolis hypervisors are much more common. But this will be a solid plus for the XC Series as the hyper-converged infrastructure space gets more crowded. This is a great differentiator for Dell EMC."

Also new is support for the new Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers in Dell EMC Ready Bundles for Microsoft SQL and Dell EMC Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct Ready Nodes, Ahmad said. The Ready Bundles and Ready Nodes include the software pre-integrated on Dell hardware, he said.

The new SQL Ready Bundle comes as many customers are looking to upgrade to the new Microsoft SQL Server 2017, Ahmad said. "Microsoft is saying a lot of customers are still on SQL 2005, but last year it announced end-of-life for that version," he said. "We feel this Ready Bundle will be a big help for customers looking to run the latest software on the newest servers."

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