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New Dell EMC PowerEdge serves up storage expansion

New PowerEdge 14G servers from Dell EMC form the 'bedrock of the new data center,' Michael Dell says. Ready Nodes and software-defined block storage are among the new products.

Storage has made big news at Dell EMC World 2017, but this year's event also encompasses Dell's historical focus on servers and networking.

During a keynote address, Dell EMC executives laid out the vision for the combined company, focused on getting customers to view data storage broadly as a set of interconnected cloud technologies. Reflecting Dell's history in servers and networking, the vendor previewed the 14th generation of Dell EMC PowerEdge storage servers and an accompanying family of 25 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) open networking storage switches for in-rack connectivity.

Several Dell EMC storage products in the pipeline revolve around the souped-up PowerEdge 14G server family, although company executives provided few details on the forthcoming models. General availability will depend on the release of Intel's new Skylake processors, which could come as soon as this summer.

Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, opened his keynote with assurances that the newly merged vendor would be able to rationalize the integration of overlapping cloud, networking, servers and storage products.

"We don't believe that one size fits all. And we want to be No. 1 in every product category," Dell said.

He also told the audience that, despite buying the world's largest storage vendor for $63 billion, servers and PCs remain central to its identity.

"This new generation of PowerEdge server is built to be the bedrock of the new data center. It's the first server designed for the new era [of] all-flash, cloud-enabled, software-defined … scalable and trusted," Dell said, reciting a catalog of Dell EMC product rollouts this week that include refreshed all-flash storage and an integrated Data Domain hardware appliance.

Expanded Ready Node options built on PowerEdge

The next- generation Dell EMC PowerEdge servers will accommodate approximately 20% more NVM Express (NVMe) flash capacity than existing PowerEdge machines, providing a performance boost that will help storage systems.

We don't believe that one size fits all. And we want to be No. 1 in every product category.
Michael Dellchairman and CEO, Dell Technologies

Dell EMC President David Goulden said PowerEdge features a secure integrated design that includes the configurable Intel Boot Block to prevent malware takeover. Software intelligence can identify and automatically resolve hardware issues. A single Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd supports 64 virtual desktop users per board, about twice the number of the 13G R730. The difference is the addition of a third NVIDIA graphics processing unit.

"Our new 14G servers will be built into the full Dell EMC product portfolio, bringing our server innovations to storage and data protection as well," Goulden said.

After the new PowerEdge launches, customers can run it as a validated platform to support Dell EMC VMware VSAN Ready Nodes and ScaleIO Ready Nodes server and block storage bundles. A Ready Node configuration for Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct also was introduced for Windows Server 2016 shops. It will be used as the hardware platform for Dell EMC's VxRail and XC hyper-converged systems.

IsilonSD Edge is a virtual NAS the vendor brought out in 2015 based on its scale-out NAS product line. IsilonSD Edge has been enhanced to allow customers to deploy the software on a single PowerEdge 14G node. The revamped IsilonSD Edge integrates VMware vSphere 6.5 and can be deployed as virtual storage with ScaleIO and VSAN.

Next: Dell EMC PowerEdge boosts software-defined storage

ScaleIO.Next, Dell EMC's upgraded software-defined block storage system, gains inline compression, enhanced snapshots, granular thin provisioning and enhanced volume migration. Dell EMC claims customers will realize performance and latency gains by running the new ScaleIO storage on 14G servers outfitted with NVMe drives.

The vendor's upgraded Elastic Cloud Storage object storage, ECS.Next, adds data analytics and more enterprise-grade data protection. Customers can use the new ECS Dedicated Cloud to run their hybrid storage as a single tenant hosted in a Virtustream data center.

A new software-defined storage for ECS nodes or Isilon scale-out NAS is also in the works. Code-named "Project Nautilus," it is geared to support high-volume data streaming from internet-of-things devices to Dell EMC storage.

Dell EMC World attendees also received a look at the vendor's expanded line of Open Networking GbE switches rolled out earlier this year. The top-of-rack S5100-ON switch matches the 25 GbE support native on the Dell EMC PowerEdge 14G, with fabric uplinks for a 100 GbE spine to accelerate traffic between racks. Each QSFP28 optical port can support 10 GbE, 25 GbE, 40 GbE, 50 GbE and 100 GbE.

S4100-ON is 10/100 GbE in-rack switch billed as a unified multiprotocol device that can support converged LAN and SAN environments at 32 Gbps Fibre Channel. The S5100-ON and S4100-ON ship with Dell's new programmable Linux-based OS10 Enterprise Edition operating system.

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