Dell Combines Storage with Kubernetes, Refine Edge Strategy


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Dell Technologies, since its inception 37 years ago, has been responsible for the infrastructure, servers, network systems and storage devices that populate corporate data centers to enterprise customers designed to make employees more productive . Infrastructure is what pushed Dell to become a multinational IT giant that generated over $ 92 billion in net revenue in 2020 and made founder and CEO Michael Dell into a multi-billionaire.

But like longtime peers such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo, IBM, and Cisco Systems, Dell has had to adapt for much of the past decade to a rapidly changing IT environment where data reigns supreme. , software is increasingly a key tool for organizations, the cloud is the preferred IT model both inside and outside the data center and the edge is the new frontier. Automation is in demand to help drive modern workloads from machine learning to data analytics and augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) and widely distributed computing, applications and data being accessible, collected, stored, analyzed and exploited more and more externally. from the central data center.

In the face of such complexity, businesses look to vendors to help them manage these environments and reduce complexity.

OEMs like Dell and others are undergoing huge transitions to deal with these changes, taking steps such as offering more of their products as a service – Dell is doing this through its age-old Apex initiative. one year – and making them available on-premises and in the cloud (and increasingly at the edge), embracing cloud-like consumption models as you go, prioritizing operating expenses over spend investment, strengthening their capabilities in areas such as software and security and evolving to meet the demands of cloud-native technologies such as containers and Kubernetes.

Much of that was in play this week at the Dell Technologies Virtual Summit. Much of the focus was on topics such as data management and the edge, with the idea that simplicity was key.

“What I find interesting about our opportunity is if you look around the world and say you’re in AI drug discovery or you’re in autonomous transport or you’re in the metaverse or the blockchain, AR, VR, immersive computing, all of these things have one thing in common, and that’s the sheer amount of data, ”Michael Dell said in a virtual session with reporters and analysts. “The amount of data in the world keeps growing. The time needed to double the amount of data in the world is decreasing as everything in the world becomes smart and now connected to 5G [and] low latency networks. The intrigue of any organization is to use all of this to create competitive advantage and create success, and that requires new capabilities, new tools, new infrastructure.

A decision made by Dell at the event to manage data in a cloud-native world was the introduction of container storage modules, designed to enable DevOps teams to deliver automated enterprise storage services such as As data replication in data centers, role-based access control (RBAC) authorization, observability and resiliency, to Kubernetes-based container workloads.

The modules use Container Storage Interface (CSI) drivers, which already provide lifecycle and snapshot management for Kubernetes, to bind containers to storage arrays and inject storage code into Kubernetes, allowing developers and IT teams to leverage Dell EMC storage products like PowerMax. and all-flash PowerStore, PowerScale for Scalable NAS, PowerFlex (High-Performance Scalable Environments) and Unity XT (Hybrid and All-Flash Storage) systems.

“Application developers in organizations of all sizes are increasingly adopting containers for cloud-native workloads,” wrote Magi Kapoor, director of storage product management at Dell EMC. blog post, noting that by 2025, more than 85% of companies globally will be using containerized applications in production. “Despite all the benefits of containerized workloads, organizations still face challenges, from lack of internal alignment, to visibility and monitoring issues, to meeting security and compliance requirements. “

Dell EMC’s CSMs aim to address these issues by extending capabilities such as replication, authorization, resiliency, and observability to Kubernetes-based workloads, she wrote.

Dell’s CSM comes the same week that rival NetApp said its Astra – a fully managed data management service designed for Kubernetes workloads – became available to everyone, another data point in the vendor push. storage to evolve into data management companies and adopt cloud-native technologies. . With Astra, businesses can protect, restore, and move applications to Kubernetes without having to download and install software.

Advantage is another area that organizations and technology providers will face. According to IDC, more than half of new IT infrastructure will be deployed to the edge by 2023 and the number of new business processes deployed to edge infrastructure will grow from 20% today to over 90% in 2024.

Dell this week released a number of edge-related products and services that are aimed at making the edge a more comfortable place for businesses.

“Part of our job is to make this as easy as possible and we don’t want to be naive about it,” said Michael Dell. “It’s a challenge, especially when you think about what’s going on on the outskirts. Right now, we’re sort of on the cusp of the era of advanced computing. If you talk to all the different companies on the edge – and it would be pretty much all the companies on the planet, because effectively the edge is the real physical world and all of these things are getting smart – there’s a real risk that this will happen. either a nightmare of complexity because you have effectively created a huge number of silos. That is why we are working hard to move forward and create a platform that helps customers solve this problem.

The company is pushing its VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure – co-created with VMware – to the edge with its new satellite nodes that feature a smaller footprint, an important factor in space-constrained sites like retail stores, manufacturing plants and branch offices . The nodes automate many regular tasks while allowing health monitoring and lifecycle management from a centralized location.

The validated design for Edge manufacturing with Litmus (an automation technology company) is based on Dell EMC PowerEdge or VxRail systems – with an option to use VMware Edge Compute Stack, an offering announced earlier this month by VMware for building, managing and securing applications at the edge – to help IT teams manage and orchestrate devices, data, and industrial edge applications in disparate locations. In addition, the Dell EMC Edge Gateway enables businesses to connect multiple edge devices. It is a 5G cable system powered by Intel 9e Gen Core processors capable of operating in industrial environments, including temperatures from 4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

The vendor’s streaming data platform (SDP) includes improved GPU optimization to improve the latency and frame rate environment when ingesting streaming video and to support time analysis real on VxRail and PowerEdge systems. It is a scalable offering that can run light workloads on a single core by leveraging an edge-centric software suite.

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Margie D. Carlisle