Dell EMC refreshes data centre line-up in IT transformation play

Vendor pitches itself as an enabler of digital modernisation

Dell EMC today announced a landslide of updates to modernise the data centre and position itself as IT's right-hand man for digital transformation.

The company unveiled new products in its server, storage, networking, data protection and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) families at Dell EMC World 2017.

"I enjoy an interesting vantage point, because I get to spend a lot of time with CEOs and CIOs and line of business leaders and technologists," said founder Michael Dell. "And the CEOs have moved beyond needing to be convinced that theres a digital transformation; they see the digital disruption everywhere. And the hunger for transformation is tremendous, and they're looking for a strategy, a partner, a model to help them along this journey."

The biggest announcement was the launch of a new generation of PowerEdge servers. The company's 14th generation of servers is engineered to be as scalable as possible in order to support digital transformation, cloud projects and the software-defined data centre (SDDC).

The 14th generation PowerEdge servers boast up to 50% more VDI users per server thanks to support for an increased number of GPUs, as well as 19 times more NVMe flash storage, improved system management performance and a suite of enhanced security features like SecureBoot, system erase tools for securely wiping drives and tools to let IT prevent configuration changes that can introduce security vulnerabilities.

"The next transition in enterprise architecture will increasingly be built on flexible hyperconverged infrastructures, those that simplify procurement and ongoing operations with a single supplier, lowering risks of implementation while helping speed time to delivery," said 451 Research CRO Michelle Bailey.

"Dell EMC's new generation servers are geared toward addressing many of these issues with intelligent management and automation capabilities."

Elsewhere, the company made a number of announcements regarding its portfolio of storage solutions, particularly in its all-flash storage lines. At the upper end of its storage family, this includes the new VMAX 950F all-flash array, which promises maximum availability for handling mission-critical workloads. Dell EMC claimed this array is four times faster than the competition, with a 25% smaller footprint compared to the previous generation.

Also announced was the next generation of its XtremIO all-flash product, the XtremIO X2. The company laid out a laundry list of advances, including 80% faster response time, three times the capacity per X-Brick and twice as many copies per cluster for iCDM. The X2 also boasts extreme scalability, ranging from 7TB per X-Brick all the way up to 138TB, with a 400% larger rack density providing up to 5.5PB effective capacity.

Moving down into the mid-range storage family, four new Dell EMC Unity products - the 350F 450F, 550F and 650F - offer customers more affordable all-flash solutions. The new units can be installed in less than 10 minutes, have an 800% greater density and more effective file system capacity than their predecessors, and include a our times larger file system, the company claimed.

The new SC5020 product has also been added to the company's entry-level offering, following on from the popular SC4020, with up to 45% more IOPS, triple the bandwidth and double the maximum capacity of its predecessor.

Software-defined storage wasn't neglected either; the company's major SDS products have all been updated to support the new PowerEdge servers, with the ScaleIO, Elastic Cloud Storage and IsilonSD products all tweaked for greater efficiency to support data centre transformation.

Rounding out the announcements from the storage sector is the launch of a new generation of Isilon NAS systems. Based on a brand-new 'Infinity' architecture, the new boxes supposedly deliver twice the capacity, six times the IOPs and 11 times the throughput of the previous iterations, and Dell EMC reckons they blaze past the nearest competitor.

Customers will get nine times more IOPS, 18 times the throughput and a whopping 2,100% increase in capacity compared to the Isilon's nearest rival. They also increase data centre efficiency by up to 75% by reducing power, cooling and space requirements.

Dell EMC also freshed its VxRail, VxRack and XC Series product families, powered once again by the new PowerEdge generation. New features are geared around making it easier for companies to deploy and manage Dell EMC's HCI appliances, with increased interoperability across the rest of Dell's technology stack.

"If you look at market growth, HCI is north of 100%, and if you look at some of the projections for that, whilst it's coming off an order-of-magnitude, low-billions-of-dollars base today, it's clearly in two, three years time going to be a very significant market," said Nigel Moulton, EMEA CTO for Dell's converged platforms and and solutions division. "So if you look at it from a market share and a market opportunity point of view, then it is absolutely the centerpoint."

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