Hardware giant aims to differentiate its own offering of VMware’s hyper-converged infrastructure.
Dell is offering Nexenta’s file-access technology on top of VMware’s Evo:Rail hyper-converged infrastructure.
Dell has used its partnership with software-defined storage specialists Nexenta to differentiate its Evo:Rail offering from the seven other companies that have signed up to ship VMware’s appliance.
EMC, Fujitsu and as of yesterday HP and Hitachi Data Systems are other partners of the product, which combines VMware’s compute, storage and networking tools into one product that VMware claims is key to the software-defined data centre.
Dell will now offer customers end-to-end support for both the hardware and software sides of the product in its Dell Engineered Solution, as well as shipping both NexentaConnect and NexentaStor with it.
NexentaConnect for VMware Horizon will help the automation and I/O acceleration of VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI), while NexentaStor 4.1, which offers in-line data de-duplication snapshots and compression, will give Evo:Rail appliances file storage and access capabilities.
Dell’s manager for Cloud & Engineered Solutions in EMEA, Reidar Balstad, told CBR: "Nexenta gives the flexibility that’s not found in the current iteration of vSan [VMware’s storage product rolled into Evo:Rail].
"It’s a natural move for us to offer that extra functionality customers don’t find in vSan."
He added that Dell’s overall support was not found in other sellers of the Evo:Rail appliance, such as SuperMicro.
Tarkan Maner, CEO of Nexenta, claimed the partnership provides the only fully featured file services for software-defined hyper-converged infrastructure.
He added: "NexentaConnect for VMware Virtual SAN completes Dell’s unified storage solution and helps enterprises realise the potential of the Software-Defined Data Centre."
VMware’s ‘corporate CTO’, Paul Strong, today told CBR that Evo:Rail, released in December, and its enterprise-focused and soon-to-come brother, Evo:Rack, are a cheaper alternative to converged systems like Oracle’s Exadata and Exagrid.
He said: "What we’ve seen for ones that scale out for VDI or small applications is that you can get away with local storage. That’s why hyper-converged has become very popular.
"There will always be some workloads where energy optimisation might drive customers to do something very special but everyone realises that special usually costs more. There’s been an industry-drive to off the shelf hardware. Performance is good enough for the vast majority of workloads and the manageability is good enough as well."
VMware’s EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley, told CBR the technology would let SMBs deploy virtual environments in less than 15 minutes.
He added: "That’s pretty damn ground-breaking. The other thing is, when you update it none of your machines will notice, it moves things around and updates itself. Even better than that, when you get the next Evo:Rail appliance and rack that up the existing appliance allows you to add it to your existing pool."
But Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom said the technology "remains relatively proprietary" and that pricing could be an issue for the SMBs VMware wants to buy Evo:Rail.
He added: "We will have to see how the partners work with this – their offerings based on modified vBlocks have ended up being highly different to a more reference VCE system. I reckon that the majority will still aim for a more open system, offering VMware as a default option, but also offering the likes of BMC (or their own offerings of e.g. Quest, OpenView or whatever) as options."
Evo:Rail will be available from December from HP, with Dell claiming its version will be first, coming this month.