Dell Technologies this week launched a series of initiatives intended to provide IT organizations with multiple deployment options for Dell EMC appliances and servers, including forthcoming managed service offering through which Dell will manage private cloud platforms based on VMware software on behalf of customers.
Announced at the Dell Technologies World 2019 conference, Dell EMC also unveiled a new appliance series and revealed an alliance with Microsoft under which its VMware arm will make available cloud software on the Microsoft Azure cloud, in addition to existing support for Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud and servers deployed on-premises.
Jon Siegal, vice president for product marketing for converged platforms and solutions at Dell EMC, said Dell EMC plans to make it easier for IT organizations to consume IT infrastructure in an on-premises IT environment as a service or continue to use their capital budgets to acquire servers and appliances.
To advance that latter approach, Dell EMC is launching VxFlex, a set of appliances that include an operating system that enable compute, storage and networking separately. In contrast, the existing VxRail series of appliances are optimized for VMware and assume compute, storage and networking will be scaled in tandem, said Siegal. Dell EMC is also now unifying a set of hyperconverged appliances and converged infrastructure servers under a common VxFlex brand, and Siegal said in the future those offerings will be extended to add support for Kubernetes alongside platforms from vendors other than VMware.
At the same time, Dell EMC is previewing a VxRail Analytical Consulting Engine (ACE) that will be embedded in VxRail HCI system software that Dell EMC provides in its appliances optimized for VMware. That analytics engine employs machine learning algorithms to maximize application performance, while also providing self-optimization recommendations and capacity forecasts.
The Dell Technologies Data Center-as-a-Service offering, meanwhile, is scheduled to be generally available in the second half. It marks the first time Dell has launched a managed service under its own brand. VMware, however, has been providing managed services for the past year. The Dell Technologies Data Center-as-a-Service offering extends that concept to include Dell EMC VxRail appliances.
Automation is clearly at the heart of the evolving Dell Technologies strategy. The challenge organizations that have embraced DevOps will face is aligning their processes with the automation frameworks Dell Technologies is embedding in both VMware and the underlying infrastructure on which VMware gets deployed. To address that issue, Dell Technologies over time will bundle frameworks such as the open source distribution of the Pivotal platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment from Pivotal Software, an arm of Dell Technologies, on its platforms, Siegal said.
These moves signal Dell Technologies is trying to fulfill a promise to make it as easy to manage IT infrastructure deployed in an on-premises IT environment as it is to manage on a public cloud. There’s obviously still a gap. But as Dell Technologies starts to make IT infrastructure available as a service, it may one day become challenging for DevOps teams to tell where any one cloud happens to be running at any given moment.