Ed. Note: This blog post was authored by John Mannix, Dell Storage Product Marketing

Software-defined storage (SDS) and hyper-converged infrastructure address the challenges of modern data centers by abstracting the storage software from the underlying hardware, which is typically based on industry standard x86 servers and, in some cases, direct attached storage. Since most of the intelligence, including storage provisioning, management, and data protection, is provided by the storage software, is the hardware really that important?

Actually, it is. And choosing the best server platform can significantly impact the overall success of an SDS or hyper-converged infrastructure deployment. But with thousands of different server models capable of running the storage software, the choice of which platform and components to use can be extremely complicated. Other considerations like global service and support and supply chain management are important as well.

As an industry-leading server and SDS vendor, Dell is uniquely able to navigate these complexities and provide software-defined and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions that meet customer needs terms of cost, performance, manageability and serviceability. The XC6320 hyper-converged appliance we announced today is a good example of how we leveraged our 13th generation PowerEdge server platform to run Nutanix software, the most advanced hyper-converged infrastructure solution in the market.

This appliance features 4 compute/storage nodes, each with dual Intel Xeon processors, 64 – 512GB memory and 6x 2.5” drives, in a 2U configuration. It’s designed for service providers, private cloud deployments and virtualized business apps, and extends the range of the XC Series for enterprise workloads with higher performance, greater capacity and more users.

The C6320 server platform was leveraged for this appliance because of its server footprint, storage capacity (up to 11TB per node) and hot swappable components, including drives, power supplies and fans, which help ensure there is no single point of failure. Because of its PowerEdge heritage, this appliance supports a range of Intel processors, memory configurations and storage drives, including an all flash configuration, for high performance, cost optimization and precise workload matching.

Like all Dell XC Series appliances, this system boots from a 64GB SATA DOM (Serial ATA Disk on Module) for better performance, reliability and drive utilization. In addition to that, some of the under the hood features of the XC6320 appliance make deployment, management and service straightforward and efficient. Like all XC appliances, it incorporates iDRAC (integrated Dell Remote Access Controller) which is the industry’s first and only agent-free systems management solution. iDRAC is integrated with the Nutanix Prism management interface and monitors performance, power consumption, system health, and so forth. It provides a number of alerts to simplify hardware troubleshooting and can even pinpoint a specific DIMM failure.

 A customer-specified hypervisor – ESXi, Hyper-V or Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) – is also installed on XC Series appliance to reduce deployment time. It can be upgraded using the Nutanix Prism interface with a single click. Hardware support is also a factor in selecting a hypeconverged infrastructure solution. With the XC Series powered by Nutanix, customers have access to a single source for both hardware and software assistance and also benefit from Dell’s global Services and Support organization, worldwide supply chain, and the ability to work with an enterprise solutions partner that can address a full range of their IT needs.

Together, Dell and Nutanix are thrilled to offer XC Series appliances to customers seeking simple, highly scalable and proven hyper-converged infrastructure solutions. As always, we are interested in knowing more about how XC series appliances are being used and would love to hear your feedback! To stay updated, follow @Dell_Storage on Twitter.