Dell is moving forward into the growing virtualization market, with the announcement Wednesday of a major new initiative. The company said it is seeking to help businesses "become more efficient" through its flexible and modular virtualization and data-center consulting services, "business-ready" virtualization configurations, new PowerEdge servers, and EqualLogic PS4000 storage arrays.
Dell said "the expanded lineup attacks cost and complexity for two key areas of computing -- virtualization and high-performance computing (HPC)," with "differentiated solutions" for small to midsize businesses.
Its virtualization consulting services, the company said, are intended to "help holistically optimize data centers." The services are aimed at reducing the cost to plan and operate data centers, and include platform optimization and virtualization, data-center planning and management, disaster recovery, data management, and facilities efficiency.
Consulting services also include ready-to-go virtualization hardware and software configurations.
The data-center virtualization configuration includes Dell PowerEdge M-series blade servers, EqualLogic PS6000 iSCSI storage, Cisco Catalyst networking switches, and VMware vSphere 4.
The other configuration is designed for small and midsize businesses. It uses the PowerEdge R710, Dell PowerVault MD3000i, and Microsoft's virtualization suite.
The company is also introducing the EqualLogic PS4000 storage array and PowerVault NX3000 network attached storage device to help small- and midsize businesses and remote offices. The PS4000 is intended to address such requirements as server virtualization, consolidation, data protection, and data recovery.
Other Dell virtualization solutions include support for VMware vSphere 4, Citrix Essentials for XenServer 5.0, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. The company said it is supporting VMware vSphere 4 across 37 Dell PowerEdge platforms, which will help "customers of all sizes transform their data centers into private clouds."
Looking for 'Something Distinctive'
The Round Rock, Texas-based company is also offering services to help decision-making for virtualizing applications, using Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server. For management needs, Dell is offering the Dell Virtualization Management toolkit, with software from Dell and its partners.
Dell is tying its virtualization services and support with its high-performance computing efforts. It is promoting the rack server PowerEdge R410, preloaded with the Dell Management Console and Dell Lifecycle controller for management.
Frank Gillette, a vice president at industry research firm Forrester, described Dell's new initiative as not a "dramatic transformation" of what the company has been offering, but "an important incremental step." He said the company is trying to emphasize that it isn't just a products company, but also a systems company with "straightforward solutions" that include preinstalled software on its hardware.
"The question," Gillette said, "is whether it will turn into something distinctive." Gillette said Dell is working to build a distinctive brand "as the simplest solution" for virtualization, "but they're not there yet."