Dell’s building-block approach to virtualisation needs software support

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Dell’s building-block approach to virtualisation needs software support

Dell has launched two new servers that have been designed to simplify virtualisation.

Based on a building-block approach to IT infrastructure, the new PowerEdge R805 and R905 servers build on Dell’s strategy of making virtualised servers standardised, pervasive and universally empowering.

Both servers feature hypervisor software on an embedded SD card, and can come preinstalled with either VMware EXCi 3.5 or Citrix XenServer Express integrated hypervisors.

Estimating each server to take “less than one hour from opening the box” to being fully deployed, Dell’s Business Development Manager of Power Edge Servers Stephen Hemsworth likened installation of Dell’s new servers to a simple plug-and-play process.

“Dell’s strategy is simplifying IT,” he said, “but it’s not about making things dumber down. It’s about adding more intelligence in the back end to make it simpler,” he said.

But while the servers are clearly positioned for a lego-style approach to virtualisation, current hypervisor software only supports compatibility with other servers in the same AMD processor family.

Hemsworth noted that hypervisor limitations could reduce the effectiveness of virtualisation, as businesses are forced either to completely refresh their range of hardware, or run different families of servers on separate hypervisors.

“At the moment, what we see in the industry is that virtualisation is siloed,” he said. “What we believe is for businesses to have all their applications on a virtualised environment, so they can start setting their policies down.”

“New processors are going to come out; that’s going to happen. But these [R805 and R905] servers will probably remain top of the line for two to three years.”

Meanwhile, hypervisor technology can only advance with Citrix and Microsoft Hypervisor putting the heat on VMware, which currently dominates the virtualisation market.

Hemsworth also mentioned FluidVM, a virtualisation management platform that may be used to support multiple processor families on a single hypervisor.

“Citrix is quite strong and there has been a lot of talk around Microsoft Hypervisor as well,” Hemsworth said. “You’ll see in the future, it won’t just be VMware.”
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