Dell EMC Places Big Bets on Hyperconverged in Vegas

Scott Ferguson

Dell EMC is doubling down on its bets on hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) as its annual user show kicks off in Las Vegas this week. In addition to a number of new configurations of different HCI appliances, the company is rolling out finance options for smaller customers.

At the show, which starts May 8, Dell EMC is planning to update its VxRail appliance, its VxRack Systems, as well as its XC Series appliance. On the financing part, the company also plans to unveil its Cloud Flex for HCI as a way for smaller businesses to buy the equipment with less capital expenditure costs upfront.

Since the $67 billion deal that merged Dell and EMC, the company has focused on a cloud strategy that looks at building out hybrid cloud infrastructures that combines on-premises data centers, along with public cloud offerings. Before the show, Dell announced a partnership with Microsoft that brings its hybrid cloud offerings to the Azure Stack for private cloud. (See Dell EMC Brings Its Hybrid Cloud to Azure Stack.)

The strategy to focus on hybrid cloud has paid off, so far, for Dell EMC. The company now ranks with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco as one of the top three suppliers of cloud infrastructure gear, according to Synergy Research Group. (See Dell, HPE, Cisco Top Cloud Infrastructure Market – Analysts .)

In an interview before Monday's announcements, Colin Gallagher, senior director of product marketing for Dell EMC VxRail Appliances, said one of the reasons the company is rolling out a number of new hyperconverged configurations is to address a market that is starting to move more mission-critical applications to the cloud, and this helps address those needs, whether it's mid-market or enterprise.

Place your bets (Source: Eustress via Wikipedia)
Place your bets (Source: Eustress via Wikipedia)

"The customers are looking to deploy hyperconverged as a replacement for their traditional three-tier storage infrastructure," Gallagher said. "They might have built a private cloud in the past or tried to build a private cloud in the past with separate storage, separate networking and separate computer, and what hyperconverge is doing is allowing them to build those clouds much more simply and easily and allow them to scale-out private cloud for mission-critical workloads."

The first product of the HCI portfolio that Dell EMC is rolling out is the VxRail 4.5 appliance, which the company originally updated in February. (See Dell Eyes Mid-Market With Hybrid Cloud Offering.)

This latest version of VxRail offers a new deployment feature than can get an appliance up and running in 20 minutes, as well as allow it to be applied to larger clusters. It also allows customers to manage ten or more of these appliances. There's support for VMware's vSphere 6.5 and VMware vSAN 6.6.

The update for the VxRack -- it was originally EMC's rack-sized HCI product -- includes the VxRack FLEX System, which uses the company's PowerEdge R930 serve and supports applications such as in-memory databases, CRM, ERP and online transaction processing (OLTP). There's also support for Cisco's Nexus switches.

There's also an update to the VxRack SDDC configuration that supports additional PowerEdge nodes. VxRack FLEX uses ScaleIO and VxRack SDDC uses VMware Cloud Foundry.

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Finally, the company is updating its XC Series, an HCI appliance that that combines compute, storage and virtualization into either a 1U (1.75-inch) or 2U (3.5-inch) rack. Updates include a three-node configuration designed for smaller companies called the XC430 Express. The company is also housing back-up configurations through Azure.

The company is also adding data protection, back-up and disaster recovery, and further integration with Pivotal Cloud Foundry for companies that are using DevOps models within the Dell EMC XC Series. (See Pivotal Opens Windows to Its Cloud Platform.)

The VxRail appliance updates will roll out in September, while the updates for the VxRack FLEX system will be available in July, although the updates to the VxRack SDDC are available today. The XC430 Express will launch in June.

In terms of financing these tools, Dell EMC is offering Cloud Flex for HCI, which offers what the company calls a "cloud-like consumption model," for VxRail, VxRack and XC Series equipment. It eliminates up-front payments and offers declining payments over time.

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— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud News. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

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