In previous blogs, my colleagues have discussed the evolution of the data center, the key benefits of infrastructure convergence, and ways to navigate the complex converged infrastructure market. I’d now like to build on these topics and tell you how Dell fits into this dynamic marketplace.

Before today, customers evaluating converged infrastructure were stuck choosing from either inflexible and incomplete, or complex and costly solutions. Today, Dell is giving IT organizations a better choice with a family of intuitive, flexible and comprehensive converged infrastructure systems called Dell Active Infrastructure.

Each member of the Active Infrastructure family combines servers, storage, networking and infrastructure management into an integrated system for delivering virtualized resource pools that are ideal for private clouds, virtual desktop infrastructure and enterprise applications. They allow IT to rapidly respond to dynamic business needs, maximize data center efficiency and strengthen IT service quality. The Active Infrastructure family includes our existing vStart models, as well as the new Dell Active System. It also includes a collection of Active Solution reference architectures that provides guidance to IT organizations on how to deploy private clouds, virtual desktop infrastructure and enterprise applications on top of Active Infrastructure.

Here's a video interview of Marius Haas, President of the Enterprise Solutions team at Dell:

The new Active System was developed from the ground up to feature superior infrastructure integration and an intuitive management experience. It takes a balanced and open approach, leveraging the newest platforms in Dell’s enterprise portfolio that are best suited for infrastructure convergence. Included in Active System are the industry’s only quarter-height, dual-socket compute node — the PowerEdge M420 blade server — and the EqualLogic PS-M4110 blade array, the industry’s only fully redundant, enterprise-class storage array designed to fit inside a blade chassis. It also incorporates new Dell innovations announced today, including:

  • Active System Manager - An intelligent and intuitive converged infrastructure manager that uses templates to automate infrastructure on-boarding and re-configuration. This greatly simplifies and speeds up the process, while significantly reducing errors associated with manual configuration. Active System Manager also provides ongoing lifecycle management, all through a single tool. The result is better infrastructure quality with fewer costly configuration errors.
     
  • PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator – A blade I/O module designed to simplify chassis connectivity to the data center fabric by pushing advanced networking features to the top-of-rack switch where they can be managed by the networking admin. The I/O Aggregator was built with plug-and-play capabilities so it can be easily managed by a server administrator. It is optimized for virtualization by enabling blade servers to communicate with each other within the blade chassis and simplifies the network topology by converging SAN and LAN fabrics.

The pre-integrated Active System 800 is the fastest and most standardized way to deploy converged infrastructure. Including Active System Manager and the PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator, Active System 800 also incorporates the EqualLogic PS-6110 array for simplified scale-out storage and the Force10 S4810 top-of-rack switch that helps enable a distributed core. Compute power is provided by the PowerEdge M620 blade servers housed in the ultra-reliable and efficient M1000e blade chassis. Enterprise deployment services and a unified support model are included with the Active System 800 that is also delivered fully pre-assembled, pre-cabled and pretested to a customer’s location.

Recently, Gartner recommended that customers “shortlist Dell for converged infrastructure solutions…1” Dell’s latest announcement further strengthens our position in the converged infrastructure market and showcases our commitment to converged infrastructure innovation.

The Active System and Active System 800 are available in late November in the US and worldwide early next year. We welcome the opportunity to put these innovations to work in your data center. To keep up with the latest Active Infrastructure solutions posts, click the previous link.

10.23 Update: The full archive and event photos are now available to view.

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1 Dell's Data Center Strategy: From Chassis to Fabric-Based System
Published: 29 June 2012 ID:G00231213
Analyst(s): George J. Weiss | Andrew Butler