Dell is set to roll out significant enhancements to its EqualLogic storage line on Wednesday, along with its first rebadged Juniper Networks products and other updates to its storage and networking lines, all part of a mission to carve out a place in the rapidly evolving world of enterprise data centers.
The company will introduce core switching, aggregation switching, and security products from Juniper to give customers more choices, said Matt Baker, an enterprise strategist in Dell's Enterprise Technology Group. Dell already rebrands networking equipment from Brocade, a set of products it is also expanding on Wednesday. At the same time, Dell is set to introduce hybrid storage arrays and new firmware for its EqualLogic line.
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As enterprises try to virtualize and consolidate their data center resources, the biggest IT vendors are forming partnerships and expanding their own product lines to build cohesive systems combining computing, storage and networking. Dell, traditionally known less for innovation than for low prices, wants to position itself alongside data center giants such as Hewlett-Packard and Cisco as this new environment takes shape.
What distinguishes Dell from its major rivals is the ability to create an integrated set of data center products without locking customers into its own brand of gear, Baker said. Virtualized data centers built around Dell gear will be able to incorporate products from many vendors with easy interoperability, he said. Being able to mix those products will let users take advantage of rapid innovation across the industry, he said.
Dell is introducing new firmware for its EqualLogic line of iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface) products, in a release that adds significant new features.
One capability coming in the new release, Version 5, is automatic load-balancing between SSDs (solid-state disks) and spinning hard disk drives. A new series of hardware products, the PS6000XVS series of SANs (storage area networks), takes advantage of that feature. The new SANs will allow enterprises to combine SSDs and HDDs and move data between the two types of media based on how often it is accessed. Data that is being accessed more often will move to SSDs, which are designed for faster access.
Using an algorithm, the firmware can shift the data more frequently than most other systems for managing tiers of storage, Baker said.