Dell Storage and Servers Aim to Boost Efficiency

By Jamie Bsales | Posted June 30, 2009

Virtualization continues to be a hot topic for purveyors of small-business hardware and software, and Dell is the latest to introduce new hardware and services offerings to help customers deploy virtualization solutions to improve data center performance while streamlining management requirements. A turnkey virtualization configuration for SMBs simplifies the design, procurement and deployment of virtual enterprise infrastructures.

The new Small and Medium Business Virtualization Configuration offering combines a Dell  PowerEdge R710 server, the Dell PowerVault MD3000i storage array, a Dell PowerVault DL2000 backup and recovery system (powered by Symantec’s Backup Exec software) and Dell’s PowerConnect switch technology.

On the software side, virtualization is handled by Microsoft’s virtualization suite, including Windows Server 2008 and System Center-Virtual Machine Manager 2008. The bundled hardware/software suite promises quick deployment, and delivers all the computing, storage and backup functions most small companies might need.

“From virtualization to high performance computing clusters, customers are seeking standards-based technologies that improve efficiency while reducing costs,” noted Brad Anderson, senior vice president of Dell’s, Enterprise Product Group. “With Dell, organizations benefit from a powerful, efficient and affordable portfolio of server, storage and virtualization products and services that help put them on the fast track to efficiency.”

Virtualization technology—where software lets one server processor act as several “virtual” servers—saves a company money by more efficiently utilizing the processing power that generally goes unused in a typical server. Such solutions also reduce IT management requirements and expenses by running multiple applications and operating systems independently on a single server.

To help IT-challenged businesses set up a virtualization solution, Dell has also introduced new Dell ProConsult services. The service provides a simple tool to remotely evaluate a business’ existing IT environment and quantify the return on investment for implementing virtualization. The ProConsult professional can also help analyze workload requirements to optimize a virtualization platform and help with data center planning, ongoing management and disaster recovery.

Hardware Tailored for Small Biz

In addition to the virtualization bundle, Dell also rolled out new standalone hardware offerings tailored to small business. The EqualLogic PS4000 storage array and PowerVault NX3000 network attached storage (NAS) device help SMBs and remote-office customers meet the ever-growing demand for storage, while the PowerEdge T410 and T710 tower servers and R410 rack server feature the latest Intel Xeon processors.

In keeping with the virtualization theme, the EqualLogic PS4000 can provide storage for virtual servers in remote offices. The device delivers advanced integration and data protection capabilities for virtual server platforms including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer. The PS4000 provides dynamic load balancing across disks and even multiple arrays in a pool, avoiding bottlenecks and eliminating the need for an IT technician to manually re-distribute capacity or application workloads.

In addition, the scalability of the EqualLogic line allows businesses to buy only the capacity they need without huge upfront costs and to grow their SAN with additional PS Series arrays as needs dictate. The PS4000 also includes full data protection and disaster recovery features. For businesses that simply need a NAS device, Dell’s new PowerVault NX3000 NAS can shares files across Windows and non-Windows clients, making it ideal for a mixed-OS office. It also saves disk space by reducing duplicate files with the intelligent Single-Instant Storage (SIS) technology. 

On the server front, Dell unveiled additions to its PowerEdge portfolio, featuring Intel Xeon 5500 series processors. The PowerEdge T410 and T710 are tower configurations, while the R410 is a rack-mount server.

All three are engineered for SMBs and remote office locations, delivering enhanced performance for general business applications as well as energy savings compared to servers in this class from competitors, according to Dell. Another welcome addition is the new “rollback” feature, which lets an administrator automatically return the drive image to the last known good state should a system update cause problems.

Pricing

Pricing for the PowerEdge Servers start at $999, and the EqualLogic PS4000 SAN solutions pricing starts at $10,000. The NX3000 NAS starts at $3,100.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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