Dell PowerEdge Server Appliances Scale-Out with Nutanix
By , - Source: Toms IT Pro

Nutanix announced an OEM agreement with Dell launching a new line of Dell branded web-scale, software-defined storage appliances. Called the Dell XC Series, these converged appliances are a combination of Dell PowerEdge servers running Nutanix's own operating system, Nutanix OS, providing enterprise class support for scale-out VDI, big data, private cloud and branch office computing.

Dell will be offering the XC Series in different variants and scale, giving businesses the opportunity to choose a product based on their own performance and business needs. In talking with Dell, the company revealed that amongst the first PowerEdge models to get the Nutanix treatment will be Dell's 2U PowerEdge R720xd. More details about the appliance's configuration, including CPUs, memory and storage capacity and type - current Nutanix appliances are hybrids (SSD and HDD) - will be revealed later this year around the time of the products' release.

Adapting the idea of web-scale architecture from companies that pioneered the technology, like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, Dell XC Series appliances are designed to scale out, providing a clustered combination of converged compute and storage nodes able to handle workloads at an enterprise scale. This basically means that as demand on the hosted environment grows, customers can add other XC Series appliances to the running cluster in order to meet increased performance needs.

The new Dell appliances are managed using Nutanix's HTML5-based Prism UI. The management interface can provide centralized support of both Dell and Nutanix appliances and can handle multiple appliance clusters, if needed.

Nutanix's HTML5-based Prism UINutanix's HTML5-based Prism UI

"The appliances will deliver high-performance converged infrastructure ideal for powering a broad spectrum of popular enterprise use cases, including virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), virtualized business applications, multi-hypervisor environments and more," states the company's press release. With Dell's expansion of its software defined storage portfolio, the company will definitely benefit from its partner's current reach in the virtualization market. Nutanix's software already runs on popular virtualization hypervisors such as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere, as well as the open source KVM platform, and is able to span multiple hypervisors in the same environment, according to the company. With that, services commonly tied to virtualization, such as snapshots, high availability, disaster recovery, and deduplication will be available.

Before the partnership, Nutanix's solution was already designed to run on off-the-shelf, non-proprietary legacy hardware, but the potential boost from Dell's x86 based server hardware and enterprise experience could prove beneficial for the smaller company. "Dell is a world-class leader in servers, storage and networking, and has established itself as a valuable IT partner for many of the world’s largest organizations," said Dheeraj Pandey, co-founder and CEO, Nutanix. "Nutanix is teaming with Dell to accelerate our global sales growth through Dell's vast direct and channel sales networks. In Dell, we chose a company that shares our vision of disrupting traditional datacenter infrastructures with intelligent software running on x86 hardware to power all datacenter services."

Dell's PowerEdge R720 Server with faceplate (top) and without faceplate (bottom)Dell's PowerEdge R720 Server with faceplate (top) and without faceplate (bottom)As for future roadmaps, the released press announcement states that Nutanix and Dell will align themselves and will work jointly in sales, marketing, support and service investments for the product line.

Dell has scheduled general availability for the XC Series in the fourth quarter of 2014. Technical support will be split between the companies with tier one support provided by Dell, and tiers two and three provided by Nutanix.