Dell has added new models to the XC Series of converged appliances that combine Dell server hardware with Nutanix software, offering greater storage density and a boost in performance thanks to the latest Intel server chips.
Available from 3 March, the second wave of XC Series appliances is based on Dell's 13th generation of PowerEdge server hardware. This delivers the compute power of Intel's Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors, which launched last year, while the first wave of XC appliances was based on older hardware.
The new XC Series appliances also offer a choice of form factors. The XC630 introduces a compact 1U chassis, while the XC730xd keeps to the 2U form factor of the existing XC720xd.
However, both models offer double the storage density of the original appliance, so the XC630 can deliver up to 16TB of storage in a 1U chassis, while the XC730xd can fit up to 32TB in its 2U chassis.
Dell announced its intention last year to target the market for converged infrastructure by partnering with Nutanix. The Nutanix platform combines compute and storage in a single node, with a software layer to create a shared storage pool across a cluster of Nutanix nodes.
Paul Harrison, storage director for Dell UK, said that the new models deliver differentiation for Dell, especially as no other vendor is offering a 1U Nutanix appliance.
"We think that the XC630 will really help us unlock the mid-market, and public sector customers in particular, to XC and Nutanix," he told V3.
This type of hyper-converged infrastructure is styled as ideal for virtualisation, especially virtual desktop infrastructure, as it places tiered storage as close as possible to the virtual machines rather than out on a storage area network (SAN).
They also represent time-to-value, according to Harrison, as customers can be up and running within 30 minutes of installing an appliance, he claimed.
However, it isn't necessarily for everyone, depending on customer requirements.
"When we're engaging with customers and talking about their workloads, a variety of factors come into play as to whether they are going to go for this web-scale hyper-converged approach," he said.
"Depending on what infrastructure they have, how they are sweating those assets, they may decide to follow a traditional IT model, while other customers are at a point where they are bringing on board a new application or workload, and rather than scale out in a linear fashion they want to start driving the efficiencies you can get from hyper-convergence."
Harrison said that Dell is very customer-focused, and that providing a Nutanix-based solution is part of a broader strategy to offer choice to businesses.
However, in the past, the firm has often acquired other companies that enabled it to offer a complete solution, such as storage vendors EqualLogic and Compellent.
Harrison downplayed any notion that Dell might acquire Nutanix, saying that it was a partnership that currently worked well for both firms.
"They've got the software, we've got the infrastructure and the global support organisation, and the go-to-market is based around that," he said.
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