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This article is part of our Essential Guide: VMworld 2018 conference coverage

Dell EMC HCI and storage cloud plans on display at VMworld

Dell EMC promises to synchronize releases of VMware's vSAN on VxRail HCI appliances, although it may take 30 days to do it; fleshes out cloud support for storage, data protection.

LAS VEGAS -- Dell EMC launched cloud-related enhancements to its storage and hyper-converged infrastructure products...

today at the start of VMworld 2018.

The Dell EMC HCI and storage product launch includes a new VxRail hyper-converged appliance, which uses VMware vSAN software. The vendor also added a cloud version of the Unity midrange unified storage array and cloud enhancements to the Data Domain data deduplication platform.

New Dell EMC HCI and storage products include:

  • The new Dell EMC VxRail G560, which is an upgrade over the previous G Series. The 2U G560 includes 1.75 times the number of processing cores, twice as much processing power, four times the memory and three times more capacity in the boot device over the previous series. The G560 is based on the PowerEdge C6420 server.
  • UnityVSA Cloud Edition is a software-defined version of the Unity storage array. The Unity cloud version lets customers run block and file storage on VMware Cloud on AWS. The Unity software for the cloud is similar to what Dell EMC does with its Isilon scale-out NAS storage. Dell EMC launched Isilon Cloud for Google Cloud Platform last May at Dell Technologies World. The Unity cloud version supports 256 TB file systems, NFS, CIFS and snapshots. The target use cases are test/development and disaster recovery for on-premises Unity physical arrays.
  • Data Domain Virtual Edition (VE) 4.0 -- the software-only version of the dedupe disk backup appliance -- now supports 96 TB in the cloud compared to 16 TB previously. The Data Domain Cloud Tier for long-term archiving now supports object storage on Amazon S3, Microsoft Hot Blob, Virtustream Storage Cloud, and Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage. Data Domain VE also now supports KVM hypervisors on premises to go with previous support for VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V.
  • CloudIQ cloud-based monitoring now supports Dell EMC PowerMax, VMAX, and XtremIO storage arrays. CloudIQ previously supported Unity and SC Series. The storage as a service (SaaS) application provides stats on the health of all the Dell EMC storage platforms, as well as VMware through the CloudIQ interface.

Dell EMC HCI key for multi-cloud approach?

Dell EMC is also promising synchronized releases between the VxRail and the VMware vSAN software that turns the PowerEdge into an HCI system – although it could take 30 days for the "synchronization." Still, that's an improvement over the six months or so it now takes for the latest vSAN release to make it to VxRail.

Whether you're protecting data or storing data, the learning curve of your operating model -- regardless of whether you're on premises or off premises -- should be zero.
Sam Grocottsenior vice president of marketing, ISG, Dell EMC

Like other vendors, Dell EMC considers its HCI a key building block for private and hybrid clouds. The ability to offer private clouds with public cloud functionality is becoming an underpinning of the multi-cloud strategies at some organizations.

Sam Grocott, senior vice president of marketing for the Dell EMC infrastructure solutions group, said the strong multi-cloud flavor of the VMworld product launches reflects conversations the vendor has with its customers.

"As we talk to customers, the conversation quickly turns to what we are doing in the cloud," Grocott said. "Customers talk about how they're evaluating multiple cloud vendors. The reality is, they aren't just picking one cloud, they're picking two or even three clouds in a lot of cases. Not all your eggs will be in one basket."

Dell EMC isn't the only storage vendor making its storage more cloud-friendly. Its main storage rival NetApp also offers its unified primary storage and backup options that run in the cloud, and many startups focus on cloud compatibility and multi-cloud management from the start.

Grocott said Dell's overall multi-cloud strategy is to provide a consistent operating model experience on premises, as well as in private and public clouds. That strategy covers Dell EMC and VMware products. Dell EMC VxRail is among the products that tightly integrates VMware with the vendor's storage.

"That's what we think is going to differentiate us from any of the competition out there," he said. "Whether you're protecting data or storing data, the learning curve of your operating model -- regardless of whether you're on premises or off premises -- should be zero."

Stu Miniman, a principal analyst at IT research firm Wikibon, said Dell EMC is moving toward what Wikibon calls a True Private Cloud.

Wikibon's 2018 True Private Cloud report predicts almost all enterprise IT will move to a hybrid cloud model dominated by SaaS and true private cloud. Wikibon defines true private cloud as completely integrating all aspects of a public cloud, including a single point of contact for purchase, support, maintenance and upgrades.

"The new version of the private cloud is, let's start with the operating model I have in the public cloud, and that's how I should be able to consume it, bill it and manage it," Miniman said. "It's about the software, it's about the usability, it's about the management layer. Step one is to modernize the platform; step two is to modernize the apps. It's taken a couple of years to move along that spectrum."

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What characteristics in your storage or HCI systems do you need to make them truly multi-cloud?
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