back to article Dell cranks vStart virty server stacks to 1000

With new servers, switches, and storage arrays in the field, the next thing that a modern IT supplier needs to do is create converged system stacks based on that new iron, focusing on the hardware and pitching the benefits of having everything pre-integrated. Dell is hosting its Storage Forum in Boston, Massachusetts, Microsoft …

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No direct connect?

I knew it wasn't possible with Compellent, I was talking with them earlier in the year about a possibility for their systems and was just really shocked and saddened to hear that they do not support direct connect to their systems on a dual controller array (they do technically support it on a single controller but don't recommend it). I tried to get an answer as to why but could not. Sort of along the lines as to why 3PAR didn't support NPIV for so long (until last week) I tried to find out why - no answer. Dell should do it though. I don't doubt they are working on it. How hard can it be? Compellent by contrast has supported NPIV for a while - which is something I speculated as to why Compellent didn't support direct attach, and they clarified that they did not support direct attach even before they introduced NPIV support.

Compellent's controllers have a decent amount of PCI slots and at least for a few blade chassis you could easily go direct connect with a pair of Series 40 controllers. You could of course get rid of the Brocade stuff at that point and have an entirely Dell(tm) solution. I use a Dell m1000 enclosure with brocade blade switches at one company and wasn't fond of it. Too complicated compared to Qlogic for something that can be really simple. The enclosure management was really quite a hack too, I'm sure it's improved in the past couple of years.

I could not tell from your article nor could I tell from the data sheet but I assume that this Dell configuration has redundant Force10 and redundant Brocade switches. I have to wonder is Dell using Force10 just because they can? Is it not more cost effective to use a Brocade VDX and go "converged" ?

From what I see the Brocade VDX 6730-32 supports 8 FC ports, or the 6730-76 is 16 ports..

By the time customers get big enough perhaps Dell will support FCoE on the blades (if they don't already - from what I can see they don't - though Compellent already supports it apparently). It seems they tap out at 32 servers so scaling beyond a pair of brocade switches that have 8 FC ports each probably is not an issue.

Cutting the number of devices in half (and simplifying management)? Or is Dell planning on leveraging the layer 3 functionality in Force10 (last I checked Brocade had no converged switches that did L3 which in itself is rather horrifying in this day & age). Or perhaps give customers the option to use iSCSI on Compellent (which has 10GbE iSCSI as an option). Maybe iSCSI is not up to snuff I dunno (I wouldn't use it but iSCSI has never been a strong point for 3PAR).

It is funny that Dell specifically says on the 1000v that the VMware versions included in the solution are the trial versions. That would be just too funny if a customer went and bought it only to figure out after the fact that they still needed to buy the vSphere licensing.

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Re: No direct connect?

Its not surprising that they only bundle "demo" licenses really - vSphere Enterprise/Plus licenses for a fully loaded example of the (rather lovely) quarter height dual socket E5 + Equalogic Blade chassis at the bottom of the article would cost roughly twice as much at point of sale as the hardware itself - and the OEM discounts EMC do on vSphere are crap, theres no escaping the cost.

Now - Given that release is slated for august, I would expect Dell to pull a stroke and focus on making the Server 2012 Hyper-V 3 integration nice and slick (they've always done a good job of supporting previous Hyper-V variants on their blades and Equalogics compared to the competition).

Same capacity - equivalent capabilities (in HV3 anyway), a third of the all up cost (provided you have the skills and management tools to support HV3 etc etc). That's a pretty compelling alternative.

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