Dell Reinforces Commitment to Converged Infrastructure, Big Data

Dell has given new insight into the strategy to enable it to increase its value chain in IT. The PC manufacturer wants to sell systems with higher added value, combining hardware and software for a new and improved datacenter infrastructure.

Over the past three years, Dell has taken important steps to expand its storage portfolio, offering customers a full range of world-class storage products and solutions.

Dell-based technology offers compute power, storage, connectivity, networking and an entire management layer for a complete solution for the customer. Dell has identified that a large percentage of companies worldwide will spend 80% of their time and resources maintaining operational tasks, support, maintenance and administration, while only 20% is dedicated to strategically solving issues.  Dell’s taken it upon itself to really give value to the business, layering services into their hardware products.

Dell Converged Solutions

Dell is moving from being a company that sells storage to being a storage company post wind down its reseller relationship with storage hardware vendor EMC.  Dell’s $960 million acquisition of Compellent and the acquisition of Ocarina Networks in July 2010 gives it a multiprotocol tiered storage area network (SAN) combined with data compression and deduplication software. The result has been the staging the  “Fluid Data” architecture, which is designed to enable customers to manage more information more effectively. The most interesting case is that of Dell DR4000, a storage solution for backup from disc to disc, featuring deduplication technology.

A complete data center in 10U, 28 TB of space, 24 servers

One of the components of converged infrastructures is PowerEdge servers, recently launched this year. The storage solution is designed to offer greater performance and enable users to achieve more with their workloads, and examples are incorporating SSDs (Solid State Drives), and the incorporation of technology Graphic Processing Units (GPU) for virtualized environments.

Stringing together the right acquisitions

Dell recently announced the second edition of Dell Storage solutions and services designed to help customers take advantage of the convergence of storage, server, network and IT management for greater simplicity and data center performance. The converged infrastructure can deliver a single, fully integrated system able to reduce complexity, and enables the shared services model of computing that maximizes hardware utilization, improves the availability, management contains costs and reduces deployment time and implementation.

And that’s not all.  The company’s EqualLogic PSM4110 has enough storage capacity for up to 14 terabytes per cabin, representing up to 28 terabytes per group within a blade chassis or 56 terabytes in two groups in the same blade chassis. Along with booths blade, the company introduced its Dell PowerEdge M420 blade servers for 12th generation Dell Force10 switches and MXL.  Another new Dell storage solution worth noting is the new Dell VSTART 1000, which offers complete servers, storage, networking and management tools offering. Dell VSTART is geared toward private cloud, offering customers a virtualization infrastructure.

The acquisition of AppAssure further strengthens the company comprehensive portfolio of converged infrastructure services. AppAssure goes beyond simply protecting data, protects all applications and enables service providers and enterprises to adopt a cloud computing model to offer quick, reliable and safe data protection.

Big Data Portfolio

Dell is serious about big data. The head of Dell Computer, Michael Dell said in a recent interview that his company was considering buying Autonomy before HP did, but refused, as the price was too high.

Like HP, Dell is building its enterprise software portfolio, which already includes storage, security and management with the purchase of Quest for $2.4 billion. The acquisition of Autonomy was intended to push Dell further into big data analytics, enterprise search and technology analytics market.

Being able to cost-effectively capture and store all of the relevant data makes it possible to gain insights that support innovation and business value. The key is having the right data management solution to fluidly move data, tier it, dedupe it, protect it, archive it and analysis it. Dell sees an opportunity in storage for Big Data analytics. In that line, the company unveiled its DX Object Storage Platform and RainStor’s database for a Big Data Retention bundle offering.

The Big Data Retention initiative can act as a front-end Big Data repository, a back-end archive, a stand-alone repository or a Hadoop analytics platform. It can also integrate with existing analytics platforms as a front-end big data repository for large datasets or a backend archive.

Global Enterprise Search Market

A number of recent surveys, including the Findwise survey, indicate that 95% of respondents are struggling to find right information because of the poor performance of their search application. This inability to find unstructured information will also have an impact on data analysis. Consulting firm Gartner expects the enterprise search market to grow from an estimated $1.3 billion in annual revenue to nearly $2 billion within three years.

Companies are on the road to realizing that the search and retrieval of unstructured information — texts, emails, Word documents, and reports — are critical to business success. Vendors like Attivio & LucidWorks, Cambridge Semantics, Coveo, Oracle Endeca, Exalead, Recommind, Sinequa, and IBM Vivisimo are some of the leading developer of search, discovery and analytics software.

At the Strata + Hadoop World conference, Dell showcased Kitenga Analytics, which is based on technology from Quest Software. Kitenga Analytics allows users to analyze structured, semi-structured and unstructured data stored in Hadoop. It also delivers sophisticated capabilities, including text search, machine learning, and advanced visualizations. The new Big Data analytics toolset helps find hidden patterns and other unknown information that traditional BI solutions can’t see in large amounts of traditional and non-traditional data, enabling organizations to make decisions that deliver better business results and offer that competitive advantage in an increasingly data-driven economy.

Combined with Pentaho and Cloudera solutions, Dell is also offering the Dell Apache Hadoop Solution, which features Cloudera’s distribution of Apache Hadoop, Dell’s hardware reference architecture and Crowbar software. The Dell Apache Hadoop Solution, featuring Dell servers, software and networking capabilities is used to easily and quickly deploy an end-to-end solution for big data analytics.