Dell's adaptive infrastructure management framework has something competitors don't: support for heterogeneous hardware
Corralling the myriad physical and virtual servers that exist in IT shops of any size is a daunting task, and management tools that ease the burden are in hot demand. Naturally, all of the big guys are out to win this "adaptive infrastructure management" sweepstakes. HP threw its hat into this ring with HP BladeSystem Matrix in the first half of 2009, and Cisco entered the fray with Cisco UCS later in the year. Now it's Dell's turn.
Like HP and Cisco, Dell has been working on a way to bring all the disparate systems that comprise a data center under a single management umbrella, but with a twist on the HP and Cisco playbooks. The difference is that Dell is trying to remain as vendor-neutral as possible. Largely, it's succeeding.
[ Get the no-nonsense explanations and advice you need to take real advantage of cloud computing in InfoWorld editors' 21-page Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]
Dell's AIM (Advanced Infrastructure Manager) software used to be known by another name: Scalent V/OE (Virtual Operating Environment). (Dell began selling Scalent V/OE under the Dell brand in 2009 and finally acquired the company in July.) I last looked at the Scalent offering four years ago, and much has changed since then. Most significantly, Dell has been busy leveraging the Scalent solution throughout its hardware line, including its PowerConnect switches and EqualLogic iSCSI storage arrays. But Dell has also kept the hardware agnosticism of V/OE alive, which is a key differentiator to its main competition.
Whereas HP and Cisco are limited to their own servers, blade chassis, and switches, Dell's AIM can handle a wide variety of vendors at every level of the solution, from servers to Ethernet switches to storage arrays. Deploying HP BladeSystem Matrix or Cisco UCS requires the purchase and installation of their gear, but you can introduce AIM into an existing infrastructure comprising Dell, HP, IBM, Cisco, and other hardware. Not all AIM features are available across all vendors, and some tasks may require a degree of human interaction, but in most cases the main needs are met.
In a nutshell, it's possible to have a completely automated infrastructure using all Dell gear, or a nearly completely automated infrastructure using an array of hardware from other vendors. Either way, it's an impressive value proposition.
Dell AIM: Tale of the test
Like its HP and Cisco counterparts, Dell AIM has been built to turn all the knobs and flip all the switches necessary to deploy, migrate, extend, expand, repurpose, and recover a server infrastructure -- physical or virtual -- without the assistance of an administrator. Throughout my testing, I was impressed with the way AIM handled all the curveballs I threw in its direction.
|Test Center Scorecard|
|Dell AIM 3.3||8||9||9||9||10||9|
Windows 7 is suddenly telling users it isn't genuine -- and it has nothing to do with Windows being...
Windows users are reporting significant problems with four more October Black Tuesday patches
Microsoft sends KB 2952664 through the automatic update chute for the seventh time -- and still can't...
Sponsored by Nuage Networks
Sponsored by Fibre Channel Industry Association
Polished integration of Azure Websites, Mobile Services, and BizTalk Services is a big step forward for...
Microsoft's Windows 10 SDK lets developers create apps that easily run across Windows devices
The formula is simple at one job: Nod your head and keep your job -- but keeping your dignity is...