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Dell EMC World 2017 Day One news announcement summary

server storage I/O trends

Dell EMC World 2017 Day One news announcement summary

This is the first day of the first combined Dell EMC World 2017 being held in Las Vegas Nevada. Last year’s event in Las Vegas was the end of the EMC World, while this being the first of the combined Dell EMC World events that succeeded its predecessors.

What this means is an expanded focus because of the new Dell EMC that has added servers among other items to the event focus. Granted, EMC had been doing servers via its VCE and converged divisions, however with the Dell EMC integration completed as of last fall, the Dell Server group is now part of the Dell EMC organization.

The central theme of this Dell EMC world is REALIZE with a focus on four pillars:

  • Digital Transformation (Pivotal focus) of applications
  • IT Transformation (Dell EMC, Virtustream, VMware) data center modernization
  • Workforce transformation (Dell Client Solutions) devices from mobile to IoT
  • Information Security (RSA and Secureworks)

software defined data infrastructures SDDI and SDDC

What Did Dell EMC Announce Today

Note that while there are focus areas of the different Dell Technologies business units aligned to the pillars, there is also leveraging across those areas and groups. For example, VMware NSX spans into security, and  PowerEdge servers span into other pillars as a core data infrastructure building block.

What Dell EMC and Dell Technologies announced today.

New 14th generation PowerEdge Servers that are core building blocks for data infrastructures

Dell EMC has announced the 14th generation of Intel-powered Dell EMC PowerEdge server portfolio systems. These includes servers that get defined with software for software-defined data centers (SDDC), software-defined data infrastructures (SDDI) for the cloud, virtual, the container as well as storage among other applications. Target application workloads and environments range from high-performance compute (HPC), and high-productivity (or profitability) compute (the other HPC), super compute (SC), little data and big data analytics, legacy and emerging business applications as well as cloud and beyond. Enhancements besides new Intel processor technology includes enhanced iDRAC, OpenManage, REST interface, QuickSync, Secure Boot among other management, automation, security, performance, and capacity updates.

Other Dell EMC enhancements with Gen14 include support for various NVDIMM to enable persistent memory also known as storage class memories such as 3D Xpoint among others. Note at this time, Dell EMC is not saying much about speeds, feeds and other details, stay tuned for more information on these in the weeks and months to come.

Dell EMC has also been leaders with deploying NVMe from PCIe flash cards to 8639 U.2 devices such as 2.5” drives. Thus it makes sense to see continued adoption and deployment of those devices along with SAS, SATA support. Note that Broadcom (formerly known as Avago) recently announced the release of their PCIe SAS, SATA and NVMe based adapters.

The reason this is worth mentioning is that in the past Dell has OEM sourced Avago (formerly known as LSI) based adapters. Given Dell EMC use of NVMe drives, it only makes sense to put two and two together.

Let’s wait a few months to see what the speeds, feeds, and specifications are to put the rest of the puzzle together. Speaking of NVMe, also look for Dell EMC to also supporting PCIe AIC and U.2 (8639) NVMe devices, also leverage M.2 Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF) aka Gum sticks as boot devices.

While these are all Intel focused, I would expect Dell EMC not to sit back, instead, watch for what they do with other processors and servers including ARMs among others.

Increased support for more GPUs to support VDI and other graphic intensive workloads such as video rendering, imaging among others. Part of enhanced GPU support is improvements (multi-vector cooling) to power and cooling including sensing the type of PCIe card, and then adjusting cooling fans and subsequent power draw accordingly. The benefit should be more proper cooling to reduce power to support more work and productivity.

Flexible consumption models (financing and more) from desktop to data center

Dell Technologies has announced several financing, procurement, and consumption models with cloud-like flexible options for different IT and data center, along with mobile device technologies. These range from licensing to deployment as a service, consumption and other options via Dell Financial Services (DFS).

Highlights include:

  • DFS Flex on Demand is available now in select countries globally.
  • DFS Cloud Flex for HCI is available now for Dell EMC VxRail and Dell EMC XC Series and has planned availability for Q3 2017 in Dell EMC VxRack Systems.
  • PC as a Service is available now in select countries globally.
  • Dell EMC VDI Complete Solutions are available now in select countries globally.
  • DFS Flex on Demand is available now in select countries globally.
  • DFS Cloud Flex for HCI is available now for Dell EMC VxRail and Dell EMC XC Series and has planned VxRack systems in Q3 2017.
  • PC as a Service solution is available now in select countries globally.
  • Dell EMC VDI Complete Solutions are available now in select countries.
  • Dell Technologies transformation license agreement (TLA) is available now in select countries

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI), Converged (CI) and Cloud like systems

Enhancements to VxRail system, VxRACK Systems, and XC Series leveraging Del EMC Gen14 PowerEdge servers along with other improvements. Note that this also includes continued support for VMware, Microsoft as well as Nutanix software-defined solutions.

New All-Flash (ADA) SSD Storage Systems (VMAX, XtremIO X2, Unity, SC, Isilon)

Storage system enhancements include from high-end (VMAX and XtremIO) to mid-range (Unity and SC) along with scale-out NAS (Isilon)

Highlights of the announcements include:

  • New VMAX 950F all flash array (AFA)
  • New XtremIO X2 with enhanced software, more powerful hardware
  • New Unity AFA systems
  • New SC5020 midrange hybrid storage
  • New generation of Isilon storage with improved performance, capacity, density

Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA) and Cloud Protection solutions

Data protection enhancement highlights include:
  • New Turnkey Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA) with four models (DP5300, DP5800, DP8300, and DP8800) starting at 34 TB usable scaling up to 1PB usable. Data services including encryption, data footprint reduction such as dedupe, remote monitoring, Maintenance service dispatch, along with application integration. Application integration includes MongoDB, Hadoop, MySQL.

  • Enhanced cloud capabilities powered by Data Domain virtual edition (DD VE 3.1) along with data protection suite enable data to be protected too, and restored from Amazon Web Services (AWS) Simple Storage Service (S3) as well as Microsoft Azure.

Open Networking and software-defined networks (SDN) with 25G

Dell EMC Open Networking highlights include:
  • Dell EMCs first 25GbE open networking top of rack (TOR) switch including S5100-ON series (With OS10 enterprise edition software) complimenting new PowerEdge Gen14 servers with native 25GbE support. Switches support 100GbE uplinks fabric connectivity for east-west (management) network traffic. Also announced is the S4100-ON series and N1100-ON series that are in addition to recently announce N3100-ON and N2100-ON switches.

  • Dell EMCs first optimized Open Networking platform for unified storage network switching including support for 16Gb/32GB Fibre Channel

  • New Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and IoT advisory consulting services

Note that Dell EMC is announcing the availability of these networking solutions in Dell Technologies 2018 fiscal year which occurs before the traditional calendar year.

Using Gen14 servers, several Software Defined Storage (SDS) enhancements

Dell EMC announced enhancements to their Software Defined Storage (SDS) portfolio that leveraging the PowerEdge 14th generation server portfolio. These improvements include ScaleIO, Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS), IsilonSD Edge and Preview of Project Nautilus.

Where to learn more

What this all means

This is a summary of what has been announced so far on the first morning of the first day of the first new Dell EMC world. Needless to say, there is more detail to look at for the above announcements from speeds, feeds, functionality and related topics that will get addressed in subsequent posts. Overall this is a good set of announcements expanding capabilities of the combined Dell EMC while enhancing existing systems as well as well as solutions.

Ok, nuff said (for now...).


Greg Schulz - Microsoft MVP Cloud and Data Center Management, VMware vExpert (and vSAN). Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and twitter @storageio. Watch for the spring 2017 release of his new book "Software-Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials" (CRC Press).

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More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.