Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Five 9's of pooled resources with standard hardware!

Today Egenera & Dell announced the start of shipping their Dell / PAN system. I believe this marks a new strategic direction for the company, and hopefully, a new set of infrastructure management options for mission-critical users of any kind of physical/virtual environment.

Egenera has been best known for combining its high-performance BladeFrame hardware with its PAN Manager (Processing Area Network) software. This duo has historically been used by hundreds of customers to create
very high-performance, highly-reliable, and instantly-reconfigurable compute environments. The system essentially virtualizes and orchestrates pools of servers, networks (including I/O) and SANs to create scalable & flexible assets. But let me be clear: this is an infrastructure play, not a virtualization play. The technology works on servers whether-or-not virtualization is present. More on that later.

What's nifty about today's announcement (the deal was originally announced back in May) is that it's the first time that the PAN software is being delivered (actually, OEM'd) on third-party equipment, specifically Dell PowerEdge servers. That means that if you're building a mission-critical environment or one that's being repurposed frequenty, or one that's mixed physical/virtual, the Dell / Egenera System can support it all on standard Dell hardware.
"The Dell / PAN System by Egenera is a highly available and flexible computing platform that eliminates the need to dedicate servers to applications. Instead, the Dell / PAN System creates a processing area network (PAN) that connects and centrally manages multiple Dell PowerEdge servers together with standard network and storage resources. The Dell / PAN System delivers rapid server provisioning and re-deployment in minutes, plus high availability and site recovery at lower total cost than competitive offerings. The fully-integrated solution enables customers to measurably simplify operations by creating a single resource pool and management tool for both physical and virtual servers, resulting in rapid response to organizational changes and heightened business agility."
Egenera & Dell's "big bets" on the market here are clear:
  • More companies are going to want to buy standard, off-the-shelf servers, especially as the economy slows
  • More IT staffs will find they have mixed physical and virtual environments, and at least two distinct management systems for them. Somehow this will need unification
  • More IT Operations groups will find it inevitable that they will have 2 or more virtualization technologies, and therefore will need a unified approach to HA, DR, network and storage management to support these systems as well.
In general, this form of infrastructure management is highly complementary (and mostly transparent) to users of virtualization. And *I'm* betting that we see more of it in use.

No comments: