Today, at the Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Dell EMC is making a series of announcements deepening their relationship with long-time partner Microsoft. They involve enhancements to their XC hyper-converged family of appliances with Nutanix software, although those changes extend beyond an announced Windows 2016 integration. Dell EMC also announced support for the Microsoft ecosystem more broadly. They have been approved by Microsoft to deliver Azure through the Cloud Solution Provider partner model worldwide. They also announced that Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack is now shipping early customers, and that support for Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers has been added to the Dell EMC Ready Bundle for Microsoft SQL Server and the Dell EMC Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct Ready Nodes.
“The news here is our development of our relationship with Microsoft and the Microsoft ecosystem, particularly focused on our XC series,” said John Shirley, Director of Product Management at Dell EMC. “It’s about simplifying the experience for customers by extending the capabilities around what we have.”
Late last year, Dell EMC made a strategic decision to give primacy in the VMware hypervisor market to VxRail appliances, while focusing the XC series on Microsoft’s Hyper-V and Nutanix’s own Acropolis hypervisor. While this did not impair the Dell EMC-Nutanix relationship – the two companies recommitted for a further five years in their partnership around XC – it has had a positive impact on the XC’s performance in the Hyper-V market.
“The XC series has performed very well among traditional Hyper-V customers,” Shirley said. Accordingly, it has become increasingly popular for Microsoft workloads, including SQL, Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint.
The XC series has been optimized for Microsoft Windows 2016 Hyper-V plus Azure, at no additional cost to customers, including support for Windows Hyper-V 2016 with insights into XC Series clusters.
“We are also excited to introduce the Dell EMC XC Series Azure Log Analytics Solution,” Shirley said. It provides integration of the XC Series into customers’ OMS-based data center automation tools, enabling insights such as trend analysis and behavioral anomaly detection.
“There is a lot of power and capability in this analytics solution,” Shirley said. “I honestly think when I look at the marketplace this is a good solution, and that we will see good adoption from Microsoft customers, well see good adoption. This is an open solution and will leverage the cloud. We don’t expect to see it become a success overnight, but we think that it has the legs to be transformative.”
The other key enhancement to the XC series relates to data protection.
“The Dell EMC XC Series Data Protection Management Console, which is now part of the XC Series management interface, integrates Dell EMC Avamar to back up the XC series clusters,” Shirley said. “It also incorporates Dell EMC Data Domain and cloud tiering to Virtustream and Microsoft Azure, and features a Data Domain boost which comes with a whole bunch of efficiencies.”
Shirley also emphasized that Dell EMC has designed the data protection interface to fit seamlessly with Nutanix Prism.
“We developed the interface to be similar to the Prism interface because that’s what customers for this will be used to,” he indicated. “We designed it based on simplicity, with one-click back-up polices, so that when a new VM comes online, we can assign a backup profile immediately.”
The Dell EMC XC Series updates have planned global availability in Q4 2017.
Dell EMC also announced they have been approved by Microsoft to deliver Azure through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Microsoft partner model worldwide. They are now also shipping Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack to early customers. Azure Stack, designed to smooth the way to a hybrid cloud strategy, provides an Azure-like platform on-prem to provide customers with a seamless experience.
Finally, Dell EMC has added support for Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers to the Dell EMC Ready Bundle for Microsoft SQL Server and the Dell EMC Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct Ready Nodes. The Dell Ready Bundle for Microsoft SQL Server now also adds Dell EMC Unity storage.
The Dell EMC Ready Bundle for Microsoft SQL and Dell EMC Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct Ready Nodes updates have planned global availability in Q4 2017.