Microsoft and Dell have worked closely together for over 30 years, delivering best-in-class devices, solutions and services to customers around the world. We are thrilled to be at Dell EMC World this week showing great Windows 10 experiences on Dell’s innovative PCs, and demonstrating how our joint solutions are driving digital transformation in business and education.The Dell XPS 13In the past year, we have worked in close collaboration to bring a variety of new Windows 10 devices to market including the XPS and Inspiron lines that come with features like Cortana, your personal digital assistant, Microsoft Edge, touchscreens that let you take full advantage of Windows Ink and infrared cameras that allow you to sign in to the device easily and securely with Windows Hello. We will continue to work together to deliver productivity solutions with Exchange, Office 365 and other Microsoft services. Dell is also helping us deliver premium Windows 10 devices and Dell EMC’s world-class services and support to enterprise customers.Experts from Microsoft and Dell are conducting a broad array of joint customer sessions at Dell EMC World. We encourage Dell EMC World attendees to attend “Technology in Education: Bridging the Next Digital Divide,” “Hybrid Cloud Solutions with Microsoft and Dell,” “Why it’s time to break up with your old PCs,” and to visit the Microsoft booth throughout the event to experience the wide variety of innovative solutions that Microsoft and Dell offer.Microsoft’s engagement at Dell EMC World is a great showcase for the many ways our companies continue to expand our relationship and deliver more value to our joint customers. Ed. Note: This post was authored by Andrew Tognela, General Manager of the Worldwide Dell Sales Team, Microsoft
Do blogs even matter now?Richard Macmanus, the founder of ReadWriteWeb, recently asked that question in his annual post to commemorate his first blog post 14 years ago.It’s been more than 10 years since our first Dell blog post. I was part of the team that launched the blog and remember well how we promised that “Real People are Here and We’re Listening.”I’ve seen the Dell direct model expand to include multiple roads to market, and the Dell Technologies family grow to include Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, SecureWorks, Virtustream, and VMware. Through it all our desire for one-to-one contact with our customers has remained embedded in our culture.A new look and a new blogTo keep up with this expansion, however, it was time for Direct2Dell to undergo a bit of its own digital transformation. As you can see, we’ve now got a new look; but the blog’s DNA remains the same – we’re still real people and we still want to listen and converse with our customers.And, to help us tailor those conversations to the right audience, we have now transferred some of that Direct2Dell DNA into a brand new blog named Direct2DellEMC. It may be new, but it has a strong foundation created by merging the previous Dell4Enterprise, EMC Pulse and EMC Reflections blogs.On Direct2DellEMC, we will focus on how we enable organizations to modernize, automate and transform their data center using industry-leading converged infrastructure, servers, storage and data protection technologies.Here on Direct2Dell, we will continue to share stories about the company and our award-winning desktops, laptops, 2-in-1s and thin clients, workstations, rugged devices made for specialized environments, monitors, endpoint security solutions and services.Yes. Yes, they do.But back to the question of whether blogs even matter. Mcmanus said “Now, nobody reads or listens – we just write or talk into the ether, each of us stroking our own ego.” What excited him most about blogging in those early years was the comments, trackbacks, links inside the post, blogrolls and subscribing via RSS.Well, the new Direct2Dell doesn’t include a blogroll, and trackbacks seem to have faded from most blogging platforms, but we do still want to hear your comments, will provide links inside the posts and encourage RSS subscriptions – as well as email subscriptions! (coming soon)So I remain convinced that, yes, blogs do matter. And I commit to do my best as Dell’s chief blogger to bring you interesting, unique news, stories and discussions on both Direct2Dell and Direct2DellEMC. If you’d like to learn more about our approach to blogging at Dell, check out our new manifesto below.Now, it’s up to you to keep me from talking into the ether!https://www.slideshare.net/Dell/dell-blogmanifesto
At Dell EMC we believe in building and fostering strong partnerships. A stronger ecosystem gives our customers more choice and confidence in moving ahead with their IT and digital transformation initiatives. We continue to collaborate and innovate together with Nutanix on the XC Series to make further advances that target additional workloads and efficiencies for our customers.Spanning over 1,100 customers, over 12,000 nodes and over 45 countries, the XC Series has proven that this approach works. We’re now on the second generation of the XC Series using 13G PowerEdge servers with a third generation (14G) in the coming months. Make sure to stop by the Dell EMC booth P2 at .NEXT to experience the XC Series both virtually in our VR experience as well as physically with the actual appliance. You can hear from our guest speakers Chad Sakac, President, CPSD and Dan McConnell, VP, XC Series discuss the importance of open platforms and the expanding XC Series ecosystem. Also, make sure to join our CONVERGED user group See you there! The only thing harder to achieve than striking a balance, is maintaining it. Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is defined by the ability to unify compute and storage over a high-speed network residing in the same appliance. That approach not only makes it simpler to manage IT by employing appliances; it makes it easier to scale systems out over time to meet demand for increased compute and storage resources as needed across all our Dell EMC XC Series and VxRail appliances.While software drives more and more features in the HCI environment, the single biggest misconception is that somehow this is completely independent of the underlying hardware. Via hard-won experience within the Converged Platforms and Solutions Division (CPSD) of Dell EMC, we know nothing could be further from the truth; a fact we plan to showcase conclusively later this month at the .NEXT 2017 conference being hosted by Nutanix in Washington, D.C. The Unique Dell EMC Advantage Vendors that take a “software-only” approach to HCI are relying on general purpose servers that have been designed primarily for compute. The challenge is that, when it comes to optimizing HCI deployments, the storage subsystem also needs to be designed for performance and reliability. Scale-out solutions require data to be distributed across autonomous drives that provide consistent levels of cache performance. Creating a server design that embraces this need and selecting the right drives ensures performance and reliability. In contrast, the typical industry general-purpose server is designed to optimize the highest average level of performance available for compute. In fact, when it comes to HCI capabilities, not all servers are created equal; a fact we’ll see when we deliver our next-generation 14G servers later this year.Traditional storage relies on storage controllers to handle misbehaving storage hardware and firmware. A storage controller can comprehend over 3,000 status and error codes generated by drives from any number of vendors. In addition, there are diagnostic tools for predicting and resolving failures. Dell EMC has over 8 years of experience with storage appliances based on x86. Expertise gained is built into our HCI offerings through co-engineering with our hardware and software teams and with our partners like Nutanix and Microsoft resulting in an easy to deploy, use and manage HCI experience. Having these kinds of capabilities is nothing less than critical in an enterprise IT environment.Why XC Series?Over the years, Dell EMC has developed a suite of unique software tools that augment Nutanix management software and enhance the ease of HCI management and lifecycle. These built-in tools enable a fast and near seamless deployment experience, provide rapid factory restore and bare metal recovery methods, augment rich in-band hardware monitoring and management capabilities and enhance workflow orchestration across a cluster. We also leverage these tools to pre-deploy the software stack and pre-configure, for example, BIOS and iDRAC settings in Dell EMC factories. This allows us to provide our customers with a fully installed system, complete with the hypervisor of choice running on an appliance tuned for individual workloads. We even integrate our first-time boot scripts with Nutanix’s deployment tools to enable a smooth deployment experience.When it comes time to configure an HCI appliance, it’s also important to remember that not all application workloads are created equal. Workloads such as Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint often are served best when optimized for storage density using 3.5-in high capacity drives. In contrast, more compute intensive workloads involving virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and general server virtualization require less capacity. As a result, they typically need to be optimized for compute density. Because of those different application workload requirements, Dell EMC offers seven different configurable platforms across the XC Series.Nutanix, a leading provider of HCI software, recognizes the critical importance of the underlying HCI hardware. Dell EMC co-engineered the XC Series with Nutanix to ensure that components selected meet strict performance and reliability requirements. System BIOS and management settings have been optimized for the Nutanix software stack and each pre-integrated implementation is validated by both companies. That same level of performance and reliability can’t be achieved using off the shelf x86 servers and flash drives.More Tools, More Partners…More ChoicesEarlier this month, we introduced a new network validation tool for those customers who are adding XC Series to their existing environment so that their network is configured and ready prior to deployment. We are also integrating the monitoring of the XC Series into the Open Manage Essentials portfolio of tools we provide so customers can now monitor their HCI infrastructure with the same systems management tools they use to manage PowerEdge Servers.In May, XC Series expanded its ecosystem with the first phase of Data Protection—Dell EMC Avamar Virtual Edition, Data Domain and Data Domain Virtual Edition with a reference architecture—plus enhanced developer choices with a configuration and deployment guide for Pivotal Cloud Foundry. In addition, our partnership with Microsoft has driven more seamless integration of XC Series with the Microsoft Azure cloud to provide data protection capabilities as well as worry-free business continuity.
VMworld 2017 kicks off this week in Las Vegas. VMware’s premier thought leadership and education destination for technology professionals. Back in May at Dell EMC World, we proudly introduced XtremIO X2 – the second generation of Dell EMC’s XtremIO All-Flash storage system to help customers modernize their datacenters and transform IT.Just in time for VMworld, we are excited to announce the general availability of Dell EMC XtremIO X2. XtremIO X2 is the next generation of the Dell EMC’s purpose-built All-Flash array and provides even more performance, agility, and simplicity. For IT departments deploying a VMware infrastructure, XtremIO X2 automates, modernizes and simplifies management and monitoring with its VMware vSphere plug-in and VMware vRealize Orchestration for VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) environments.PERFORMANCEXtremIO X2 delivers extreme performance with consistent sub-millisecond latency as low as 200 microseconds while hosting up to 4,000 virtual desktops. X2 delivers 80% better response times than the previous generation, and this performance is unaffected by boot storms, antivirus scans, suspend/resume operations, application peak demands, user activity, or other demands on the storage array’s resources. With XtremIO, VM cloning for VMware is a control plane operation making it extremely fast by leveraging the hypervisor’s copy offload capabilities like VAAI Copy Offload or X-COPY. In fact, a single XtremIO X2 X-Brick can host up to 4,000 virtual desktops[i] — that’s 1000 desktops per RU resulting in up to 33% lower cost per desktop than the previous generation XtremIO.[ii] The graph below demonstrates 4,000 knowledge workers. You can also watch a video of this here as well.LoginVSI benchmark demonstrating 4,000 active Knowledge WorkersDATA STORAGE EFFICIENCYXtremIO’s always-on, real-time inline data reduction technology, including deduplication and compression, dramatically reduce the amount of data storage capacity required to support VDI environments. Data deduplication is always inline without affecting performance or consuming capacity. Thousands of virtual desktops can be deployed with only a few terabytes of flash. Customer data has shown dedupe rates of 10:1 or higher for full clones and 3:1 for linked clones (see below).What’s also exciting about our X2 announcement at VMWorld is we’ve proven it delivers 25% higher data reduction, 2X more copies per cluster for iCDM, while at the same time 4 X better rack density than the previous generation XtremIO platform.XtremIO X2 used capacity for 4,000 VMs (full clones)USER EXPERIENCEWith its massive I/O performance, virtual desktops running on XtremIO X2 respond instantly and consistently faster than those on physical desktops. This extreme performance ensures that every user is able to get their work done quickly and efficiently. No more receiving calls about slow response times to mission-critical applications. In fact, XtremIO X2 is 25% faster booting virtual desktops as shown in the results below running identical tests on both XtremIO X2 and the previous generation of XtremIO.[iii]INCREASED SCALEWith XtremIO X2, you can now scale-up as well as scale-out more flexibly. You can start with as few as 18 SSDs with 7TB capacity. Then as your VDI environment grows, you can simply add more SSDs (up to 138TB) to host more desktops on a single X-Brick. Once a single X-Brick reaches maximum desktop hosting capacity, you can then scale-out non-disruptively up to a total of 8 X-Bricks. Leveraging the embedded storage efficiency capabilities, X2 can scale to support up to 5.5PB of effective capacity. This new X2 capability dramatically improves and simplifies VDI deployments making online expansion completely transparent to both your IT applications and users, while also eliminating all storage planning complexity.XtremIO X2 Scale Up and Scale Out Up to 5.5PB Effective CapacityX2 has also been designed for higher density to pack more All-Flash capacity in a footprint that is 3X denser than the previous generation, a key improvement for many of our customers:“As a service provider, the more capacity we can fit into a smaller footprint, the better it is for our business,” said Brady Snodgrass, Storage Architect at First National Technology Solutions.” XtremIO X2’s significantly improved density — with the capability of packing up to 72 SSDs into each X-Brick, nearly 3x the previous model — is a big advantage.”SIMPLE STORAGE MANAGEMENTFinally, XtremIO X2 offers a new HTML 5 management interface making it even simpler for storage administrators to quickly provision and view overall system status. With X2 there are no applications to install and management is done via a common web browser. Key system metrics are front and center and displayed in an easy-to-read graphical dashboard. Overall system health, performance and capacity metrics and graphs are right at your fingertips for quick checkups while graphical views of the array hardware and interfaces provide simple visuals for overall system performance.XtremIO X2 HTML 5 DashboardXtremIO X2 management integration with VMware vSphere is just as exciting news for VMworld attendees. Dell EMC Appsync integrates with VMware to easily and natively protect and restore datastores, virtual machines or files within VMs. VSI integration with Appsync allows iCDM to be managed within vCenter directly. While point in time recovery is possible using RecoverPoint and VMware SRM. A great demonstration of XtremIO X2 with VMware vSphere and Site Recover Manager integration can be found here.If you’re already an XtremIO customer, hopefully I’ve piqued your interest in some of the new capabilities in performance, agility and ease-of use. If you’re not already an XtremIO customer, but run a heavy VMware infrastructure, it’s worth your while checking out how XtremIO X2 can deliver peak results to your organization. Check out a really great video or head on over to DellEMC.com to learn more about the new XtremIO X2.____________________________________________________________[i] Based on Dell EMC internal testing using the LoginVSI VDI workload generator (knowledge worker profile) benchmark test, July 2017.[ii] Based on Dell EMC internal analysis, July 2017. Actual cost will vary.[iii] Based on Dell EMC internal testing, July 2017. Actual performance will vary.