This content is part of the Essential Guide: VMworld 2018 conference coverage

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Dell EMC HCI gear pushes multi-cloud strategy

Dell EMC will use its HCI systems when it bundles software to encourage multi-cloud environments and push adoption of the company's own multi-cloud strategy.

LAS VEGAS -- Dell EMC demonstrated the growing strategic importance of its hyper-converged infrastructure systems business with products that piece together software-defined and multi-cloud strategies for IT shops.

At its annual VMworld conference here, the company showed off its VxRack software-defined data center (SDDC), which now integrates with an updated version of VMware Cloud Foundation. A new configure-to-order service lets users better align a system with its workloads.

VxRail is now preconfigured to serve as an IaaS platform and infrastructure platform for PaaS, and more efficiently architect and implement an SDDC with VMware's NSX and vRealize Suite. And Validated Designs for VxRail now supports distributed multi-availability zones architectures and multisite deployments with disaster recovery.

Meanwhile, VMware unwrapped Cloud Assembly, a new SaaS-based cloud management software that will function as part of VMware Cloud Services. Further, the software integrates with VxRail. VxRail will be the first HCI appliance jointly developed by Dell and VMware to work with VMware Cloud Services, VMware execs said.

Lastly, Dell EMC disclosed vSAN Ready Nodes support on its recently released PowerEdge MX server. This server can hold eight vSAN Ready Nodes, and serve as the foundation for VMware Cloud Foundation clusters with the ability to right-size compute, storage and switching.

All these systems will be available in the third quarter of this year, according to the company.

Dell EMC HCI pieces fill in multi-cloud picture

While analysts weren't exactly dazzled by the new Dell EMC HCI hardware, they agreed it will help the company achieve its bigger software-defined and multi-cloud strategy.

"Most of the updates are incremental, but there are a lot of them," said Steve McDowell, a senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "Dell is all about software defined whether it is HCI, converged infrastructure or composable. HPE is telling the same kind of story," he said.

Dell is all about software defined whether it is HCI, converged infrastructure or composable. HPE is telling the same kind of story.
Steve McDowellsenior analyst, Moor Insights & Strategy

One systems analyst with an insurance company in Henderson, Nev., agreed that the Dell EMC HCI lineup improvements are a minor but steady march forward. "They are trying to keep their hardware systems competitive with these refreshes across VxRail and VxRack and let the software carry the day," he said.

Some analysts said they believe that Dell and HPE's aggressive sales of HCI boxes have gained traction during the past year among both enterprises and midsize companies, and that the momentum will build among both corporate and third-party developers for economic reasons and due to their ease of implementation.

"[HCI systems] are becoming popular with developers because their operations people can now give them what they want pretty easily and quickly," said Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions LLC in Gilford, N.H.

"If DevOps is working on an internal project that involves sensitive information, they don't want to do it out on the public cloud. It also offers them a convenient ramp to the private cloud."

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