Dell blades announcement prompts analyst reaction

SearchStorage.com editors interviewed industry experts Howard Marks, Terri McClure and Andrew Reichman to get their reactions to Dell Inc. launching the Dell EqualLogic PS-M4110 Blade Arrays at Dell Storage Forum 2012.

Howard Marks, founder and chief scientist, DeepStorage.net: One of the cool things we saw at Dell Storage Forum today is that they've taken the EqualLogic PS-4000 array -- their basically low-end model -- and packaged it so it fits in a double-wide slot in the M10000 blade chassis. You now get 15 2.5-inch drives and dual redundant controllers, and all the chassis ease of use functionality that EqualLogic provides right in the blade chassis, along with your server blades.

Terri McClure, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group: The [Dell blades] look like a great idea for remote offices; there are fewer cables to disconnect, there are fewer problems to go on and, of course, [they] take up less space. Makes it good for those people who work in places like colocation centers where they don't have any room, anyway.

Users are looking for systems that are fully converged and [that] reduce the overhead associated with cabling, configuring, and setting up these systems and getting them running. It's just a single converged architecture they can plug in and provision very quickly in support of their new initiatives. We're seeing users deploy more and more virtual computer solutions, and employ more and more "big data" solutions. Our research shows a heavy preference for buying these fully converged, easy-to-use and fast provisioning systems.

Andrew Reichman, senior analyst, Forrester Research: What's actually most interesting to me is that it's one company selling all the components an environment can use to build infrastructure solutions to solve business problems. More and more companies I talk to seem to want to stop buying bricks and components and buy a wall. [They want to] buy something that's going to come out of the box and be ready to run the key applications and workload stacks they care about without having to deal with the complexity of 10 different vendors selling 10 different technology components.

So I think that's a good way Dell can leverage their breadth across the IT space. I'm actually eager to hear them go even deeper and customize some of those bundles for key workload stacks like VMware, Hyper-V or file content business intelligence, but this is a great start. They've taken some of the products they've acquired and built along the way, and are packaging the [Dell blades] well.

The [Dell blades] should be something that'll compete with EMC Vblock, NetApp FlexPod, IBM Pure Systems. Each of the different infrastructure vendors these days is doing their best to come out with converged comprehensive offerings. I think it's definitely a trend that's here to stay. And [I'm] interested to see how well Dell can execute by helping their customers build and deploy solutions more easily and more effectively than they have in the past.

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