Dan's Take

Dell Struts Its Stuff at VMworld 2016

It will soon own VMware, and is integrating with that technology nicely.

Dell's Dan O'Farrell took time out of his busy schedule to chat with me about Dell's announcements at VMworld 2016. The company plans to announce products to support cloud client computing; VMware-SDN ready packages of Dell server hardware; some thin client hardware for VMware-based computing environments; high performance VDI application support; and the release of some interesting security software discussed in the article "Dell's Zero-Day Malware Protection".

Dell put on its thinking cap, looked at its technology portfolio and considered ways it could enhance a VMware-based computing environment.

The Portfolio
Dell's technology portfolio includes a number of really useful products for virtual, software-defined computing environments. Much of this technology, by the way, can work happily in a computing environment based on other virtual machine software and different cloud computing frameworks; it isn't necessarily tied to VMware. Here's a quick run-down:

  • Dell's server hardware. Dell offers products ranging from very small, 2U server appliances all the way up to large computing clusters that could compliment a virtual or hybrid cloud computing environment. Dell is going to speak about an integrated, software-defined storage solution that can complement a VMware-based virtual environment based upon one of Dell's server appliance configurations.
  • Management tools. Dell has developed management tools that work with VMware's elastic server technology, providing a HTML5/H.264 dashboard allowing IT administrators to monitor and manage a Dell/VMware computing environment from just about any type of device from just about anywhere.
  • High performance VDI support. Dell's Wyse group has a number of devices and software that make it possible for virtual desktop environments to address the needs of users of high-performance applications, such as architectural design, modeling and simulation.
  • This portfolio is designed to make it possible to replace expensive workstations with lower-cost thin client devices, while still offering acceptable performance. There are many wonderful side effects of using this approach, including reduced hardware costs, software support costs and allowing proprietary and critical data and models to be centralized and protected behind corporate firewall. When applications close, no data is left behind. Unauthorized users will not be able to access this information.
Dan's Take: Not Everything to Everybody, and That's Good
While these announcements seem rather obvious, it's clear that Dell has thought about how it can 1) help its customers optimize the use of virtual computing environments, and 2) be a good partner for VMware and other suppliers of virtualization technology.

Dell knows that it doesn't have to be the provider of each and every layer of technology in a computing environment to do well in the market. This is a striking difference from some suppliers that have to be, as Robert Heinlein said, "the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral."

What Dell is announcing makes sense; it could be very cost-effective and a good compliment to a VMware-based computing environment.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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