9 Bandwidth Hogs: Reality Vs. Myth
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Dell announced two new enterprise offerings Thursday, unveiling not only Active System Manager 7.0., the latest version of the management tool for its Active System converged infrastructure line, but also new data center products optimized for running SAP HANA as a pre-integrated system. The moves are intended to continue the company's transition from PC mega-vendor to software-driven enterprise solution provider, even as leveraged buyout rumors continue to swirl.
The pre-integrated SAP HANA offering is built around the Dell PowerEdge R910 rack-mount server configurations. Dell foresees the inclusion of SAP HANA analytics tools, typically used for high-priority workloads that demand heavy processing, to help its customers wrangle escalating data demands and deploy mission-critical applications.
"It's really about dealing with data proliferation," said Steve Stover, director of product management and strategy at Dell, in a phone interview. He said the digital universe is expected to double in scale every 18 months and that SAP HANA will allow Dell customers to "turn all this data into a competitive advantage." Stover said the company had already achieved success with SAP HANA-equipped installations, noting that the University of Kentucky is using such a system to improve student retention by identifying students at risk of dropping out.
[ How far has Dell really gotten with its plan to become an enterprise provider? Read Dell's 'Transformation': Customers Speak. ]
Stover emphasized that Dell's SAP HANA R910 configurations are flexible and scalable. Most competing systems, he said, start at 2 TB, but Dell's offerings range from 1 TB to 8 TB.
By integrating SAP tools, Dell not only broadens accessibility to enterprise-class tools among medium-size businesses but also furthers the company's offerings aimed at the biggest customers. The progression is somewhat intuitive, given that data centers have gradually shifted away from expensive proprietary systems toward platforms driven by increasingly capable x86 chips like those found in Dell's server products. As x86 has extended its reach, in other words, so too has the capability for a company like Dell to offer big-enterprise products. SAP, for its part, has also shown an interest in branching into the mid-market space.
The Active System Manager update, meanwhile, incorporates intellectual property Dell acquired late last year when it purchased Gale Technologies. The new capabilities allow administrators to manage virtualized infrastructure and workloads. Active System Manager 7.0 will be embedded in the Active System 800, a pre-assembled rack that includes Dell's 12th-generation blade servers, which debuted in October as the first product in Dell's Active Systems converged infrastructure line.
Like Dell, Cisco has been building its ability to manage both physical and virtual infrastructure from a single control layer. When asked to differentiate Dell's offering, Stover said that Cisco relies on third parties for storage components and Dell's offering has a more flexible network architecture. "We're a little more plug and play," he said.
PowerEdge R910 models pre-configured for SAP HASA are currently available. Active System Manager 7.0 will be available with Active System 800 and its associated reference architectures in the United States in February, with availability in Europe slated for late spring.
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