Virtualization Technology News and Information
Dell Enhances Virtualization, Consolidation for Next-Generation Datacenters
Dell today announced new high-speed storage and networking options -- including availability of next-generation 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) -- to help customers consolidate and virtualize their datacenters by addressing network bottleneck challenges, reducing complexity and lowering costs.

Dell Point of View:

Consolidation allows customers to reduce the number of physical servers and storage pools and help lower overall operating costs by reducing management time, power consumption and floor space used. This explains the rapid adoption of blade servers and storage area networks (SANs). But with greater compute density come greater input/output (I/O) needs and more scalable storage requirements.

Virtualization is instrumental in enabling consolidation and in improving both the availability of enterprise applications and server utilization by creating virtual machines within a server. Just like with consolidation, virtualization can bring increased network traffic, including dedicated traffic for management of the virtual machines. As the number of virtual machines per physical server increases, the physical network layer must be expanded to accommodate the increased network traffic.

The News:

New Features for Dell/EMC CX4 Storage Arrays

Dell introduced upgrades to its Dell/EMC CX4 storage line that continue the history of innovation that have been a part of Dell/EMC arrays for four generations. The new features enhance the ability of the Dell/EMC CX4 arrays to provide a full-featured storage platform that helps customers manage and consolidate their storage environments.

Dell expects availability of these additions next month:

  • 10Gb iSCSI is the next-generation of the iSCSI protocol, extending performance beyond the 1Gb connectivity available today. UltraFlex™ Modular I/O on the CX4 arrays allows customers to easily add additional ports when needed. Since the arrays are dual-mode, supporting 8Gb and 4Gb Fibre Channel and 10Gb and 1Gb iSCSI ports, customers can choose the interconnect that best suits their needs. Adding 10Gb iSCSI enables customers to affordably consolidate stranded servers onto an existing SAN, support more virtual servers and aggregate multiple 1Gb iSCSI connections to fewer 10Gb ones.
  • Virtualization-aware Navisphere® management software helps simplify storage in virtual environments with automation that has the potential to drastically reduce reporting time. Navisphere enhancements for virtualized environments provides automatic discovery of virtual machines and VMWare ESX servers, end-to-end virtual-to-physical machine mapping, and advanced search for instant virtual machine discovery.
  • Drive spin down has been added as a standard feature of the CX4 series arrays, further enhancing the ability of the CX4 to help reduce power and cooling requirements for your storage that started with the introduction of features such as low power SATA and flash drives, virtual provisioning and variable speed fans. Drive spin down enables customers to easily set policies for drives to power down when not in use.

New Storage Consolidation Consulting Services

In order to help customers deal with growing data requirements, reduce complexity and prevent storage sprawl, Dell/EMC ProConsult services provide customers action-oriented plans with specific, predictable and measureable outcomes to help better optimize their existing storage investments. With Dell ProConsult’s Workshop, Assess, Deploy and Implement (WADI) model, customers can understand the potential of consolidation, select the right technological components and integrate them into the data center with the appropriate level of performance and data protection.

The new ProConsult Storage Consolidation Solutions include:

  • Dell/EMC SAN Solution Design Services: To help ensure performance, service level and TCO goals are met, Dell helps customers design and build an optimized storage architecture that makes the most of current and future investments. This includes optional features for back-up protection:
    • Dell/EMC Local Data Protection Design: Reducing downtime is a key concern for many customers today. By utilizing the EMC SAN software snapshot capability, Dell can offer services for data protection that map to specific service level requirements and help customers employ a sound replication strategy.
    • Dell/EMC Remote Data Protection Design: Customers often need to protect data across one or more SAN. This solution helps ensure that customers can easily protect data no matter where it is located.
  • Dell/EMC Back-Up Integration Design: By helping customers integrate back-up software, Dell can assist customers in selecting the right strategy and solutions for their environment.

In addition to ProConsult, Dell offers comprehensive, customizable support via ProSupport solutions, while Dell robust, modular ProManage solutions help ease the configuration, deployment, operation, management and, protection of IT environments.

New Server Blade Networking Options

  • Dell’s High Port Count Gigabit Ethernet Solution featuring PowerConnect M6348 48-port Gigabit Ethernet Blade Switch is the blade industry’s highest port count single switch I/O module compared to other top-tier x86 server vendors. Combined with current four port integrated network interface cards (NIC) available on PowerEdge M710, M805, M905 full-height blade servers and new Dell blade server quad port network interface mezzanine cards from Broadcom and Intel, customers can get more lanes of gigabit Ethernet ideal for today’s virtual server environments. Dell expects to begin shipping next month. New quad port blade mezzanine cards include:
    • Broadcom NetExtreme II™ 5709 Quad Port Mezzanine
    • Intel Gigabit ET Quad Port Ethernet Mezzanine Card
  • The Dell 10GbE Pass-Through Blade I/O Module which directly connects blade servers using the Dell dual port 10Gb blade mezzanine NICs to external 10Gb resources such as servers or switches. This provides scalable connectivity of a few - to many - blade servers and uses Broadcom’s dual port 10Gb mezzanine card, the new Broadcom NetExtreme II™ 57711 Dual Port 10GbE Mezzanine Card, or future converged network adapters. Dell plans to make this available in the fourth quarter of the year.

Ethernet is increasingly being chosen as the networking technology for storage as customers look to consolidate and virtualize their data centers. With a 10 gigabit option and its inherent advantages in virtualized environments, Ethernet’s case gets even stronger as the most simple and capable networking fabric. -- Praveen Asthana, vice president, Dell Enterprise storage and networking.

Published Tuesday, August 25, 2009 5:43 AM by David Marshall
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