Dell Technologies World 2018 – Dell EMC Announces XtremIO Enhancement and PowerEdge Updates

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2018.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Press, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Dell EMC today made some announcements around the XtremIO X2 platform and their PowerEdge server line. I thought it would be worthwhile covering the highlights here.

 

What’s New with XtremIO X2?

The XIOS 6.1 operating system delivers one very important enhancement: native replication. (It does a lot of other stuff, but this is the big one really)

“Metadata-Aware” or Native Replication has the following features:

  • Only sends unique data to minimize WAN bandwidth requirements;
  • Minimal to no performance impact with XtremIO architecture; and
  • Simple Protection Wizard is built-in to XtremIO HTML5 UI.

This is available from May 3, 2018

 

PowerEdge News

Dell EMC also announced the availability of the new PowerEdge R840 and R940xa, both available from Q2 2018. I feel bad posting server news without some kind of box shot. Hopefully I can find one and update this post in the future.

PowerEdge R840

Dell EMC tell me the PowerEdge R840 is “[d]esigned to turbocharge data analytics”.

It offers great density, with

  • A lot of performance in a dense 2U form factor; and
  • Speedy response times with up to 24 direct-attached NVMe drives.

It also offers “Integrated Security”, which Dell EMC tell me is based on a “[c]yber resilient architecture, [where] security is integrated into full server lifecycle – from design to retirement”.

You can also scale performance and capacity, with

  • Up to 2 GPUs or up to 2 FPGAs; and
  • Up to 26 SSDs/HDDs.

There’s also “Intelligent Automation” with

  • OpenManage RESTful API & IDRAC9 for DevOps integration

 

PowerEdge R940xa

Dell EMC are positioning the R940xa for use with “[e]xtreme GPU Database Acceleration.

There’s a 1:1 CPU to GPU ratio, so you can:

  • Deliver faster response times with 4-socket performance; and
  • Drive insights with up to 4 GPUs or up to 8 FPGAs.

Integrated Security is present in this appliance as well (see above).

Scale on-premises capacity by mixing and matching capacity and performance options with up to 32 drives.

Intelligent Automation is present in this appliance as well (see above).

 

Thoughts

People have been looking for native replication in the XtremIO product since it started shipping. It was hoped that the X2 would deliver on that, but instead RecoverPoint seemed to be a capable, if not sometimes disappointing, solution. “Native” replication is what people really want to be able to leverage though, as these kind of protection activities can get overly complicated when multiple solutions are bolted together. I had the great displeasure of deploying an XtremIO backed by VPLEX once. I’m not saying it didn’t work, indeed it worked rather well. But the additional configuration and operating overhead seemed excessive. To be fair, they also wanted the VPLEX so they could tier data to their VNX if required, but I always felt that was just a table stakes exercise. In any case, in my opinion the best option for data replication resides with application. But sometimes you’re just not in a position to use that. In that instance, infrastructure (or storage)-level replication is the next best thing. It needs to be simple though, so it’s nice to see Dell EMC delivering on that.

I don’t cover servers as much as I probably should. These two new models from Dell EMC are certainly pitched at particular workloads. There was obviously a lot more announced last year in terms of new compute, but that was generational. A lot of people are doing some pretty cool stuff with GPUs, and they’ve frequently had to come up with their own solution to get the job done, so it’s nice to see some focus from Dell EMC on that.

You can read a blog post on XtremIO here, and the PowerEdge press release is here. There’s also a white paper on XtremIO replication you can read here.