Dell Sees the Virtual Light

By: Arthur Cole

Dell is coming through with its long-touted virtualization plans, unveiling a new line of servers that feature integrated virtualization systems and advanced networking technologies.

The strategy is centered on the new two-socket PowerEdge R805 and four-socket PowerEdge R905 systems, both of which are available with either the VMware ESX1 3.5 or the Citrix XenServer Dell Express Edition hypervisor. For storage, Dell is offering its own EqualLogic arrays outfitted with VMware’s Site Recovery Manager for data protection and disaster recovery.

The inclusion of XenServer is the culmination of a partnership between Dell and Citrixannounced last fall, aimed at providing Dell with out-of-the-box virtualization capabilities that simplify implementation on the customer end.

A key element in the deal was integration of the Dell OpenManage System Management stack into XenServer so users don't have to learn an entirely new management system after going virtual. Other advantages include quick boot-up of the Xen environment and live migration without the need for additional management licenses or hardware.

Dell is also working with management firm Egenera to extend virtualization and automation beyond the blade chassis and into the wider data center environment. The Egenera PAN Manager system, already built into the PowerEdge 1950 and 2950 servers and the XenServer environment, works by uniting server, storage and network virtualization under a common framework, allowing you to scale all three elements to meet changing requirements.

It's amazing that Dell got the new servers into production at all considering all the problems getting the quad-core Opterons from AMD last year, according to this article?in The Register. In fact, the R805 was supposed to ship back in November when embedded hypervisor technology was still new. Now the company has to compete on the standard parameters of memory, I/O and price. And that's no small feat, considering those waters are swimming with IBMFree Web Content, HP and Sun machines.

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