Dell launches new server, management products

Dell on Wednesday launched new servers, storage and system management products that it says will ease configuration and management of server infrastructures.

Budgets are under pressure during the recession, and Dell hopes the new products will help enterprises carry out more tasks through virtualized environments and reduce hardware acquisition costs, said Brad Anderson, senior vice president at Dell, at a press event in San Francisco. Dell also aims to equip servers and storage products with features that could help reduce power and cooling costs.

However, the company's main focus with the new products is to reduce system maintenance costs, which can take up to 70 percent of IT budgets. The products should help make it easier to configure, standardize and virtualize IT environments, Anderson said.

Other vendors are taking a similar approach to server management. Cisco last week launched its Unified Computing System, which includes virtualization technology, services and blade servers aimed at helping enterprises develop and manage server installations in data centers. Dell will also compete with HP and IBM in this arena.

The company is introducing new PowerEdge 11g servers that will be based on Intel's upcoming Nehalem design. The servers will use Intel’s next-generation Xeon processors, which are designed to increase system speed and performance per watt compared to prior Intel chips. Further details and specifications of the servers were not immediately available, but Dell said they would be when Intel officially launches the Nehalem-based Xeon chips on Monday.

Analysts have said that the chips could deliver 20 percent to 30 percent performance increases on certain applications compared to past Xeon processors.

Dell is also pushing power-efficient storage products. Dell is adding features to the EqualLogic PS6000 Series arrays, including the new SSD (solid-state disk) option, designed to process data more quickly while consuming less power. Pricing for the disk-based systems starts at US$17,000.

Part of reducing maintenance costs is making configuration easier. Dell launched the Management Console, which will bring all device and task management controls under one application, making it easier to manage hardware and software resources across virtualized environments. Developed with Symantec, the tool works with both Dell and non-Dell equipment.

Dell is also getting rid of CDs and DVDs that ship with servers, embedding system management capabilities and diagnostic capabilities directly into the hardware.

"Your first experience when you get an 11g ... you're going to open the box, there will be no media in the box," Anderson said. That will make it easier for consumers to update systems and deliver software like product updates across branches, he said.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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