Archive for March, 2010

Last weeks roundup

Yep, the Texas Rodeo has left town(literally it started leaving Monday), and so it’s time for a roundup. I don’t usually post link lists(yes, my old mainframe chums will smile quietly at that) but since I wasn’t at the Dell PowerEdge launch in San Fransico last week, I thought these links would both give a little more clarity as well as some perspective.

First up, at a corporate level, and as one of his last blog posts as principal IT adviser at Illuminata, Gordon Haff, wrote this blog post on the “Real Dell 2.0” and his thoughts on the general direction.

Next is a Server Watch overview of the product content and direction from Andy Patrizio, a senior editor at, the news service of

And then if the proof is in the pudding, here is a blog entry from Dave Graham, a Technical Consultant Cloud Customer Advocate with EMC Corporation, excitedly took delivery of a Dell PowerEdge C6100 the day after the announcement in San Francisco. You can see some pictures and an early write-up here on Dave’s blog, in an entry called “Something cloudy this way comes”.

Finally, I under played the importance of the partner side of the announcement, but then  what do you expect, I’m a product guy. Dells own Barton George, who was live blogging, tweeting, and on the Dell Yammer group live from the event, posted the following as part of his blog entry on the event.

The Cloud Partner Program Working with cloud ISVs we will be offering easy-to-buy and deploy cloud solutions and blueprints optimized for and validated on Dell platforms.  The first three partners we are announcing are Aster Data(providing web analytics), Canonical (offering an open source Infrastructure as a Service private cloud) and Greenplum(self-service data warehousing).   (On the Evolutionary cloud side we will continue to work with VMware and Microsoft  and stay tuned for news on what’s happening on the Windows Azure front :)

Dell, Cloud, and PowerEdge C

We have a raft of announcements coming out today, possibly the most significant amongst these are the new PowerEdge C-Series servers. More like custom build Data Center Solutions Servers, they feature and are power optimized for customers in HPC, Web 2.0, gaming, social networking, energy, SaaS providers and public and private cloud builders.

They are in three basic models:

  • PowerEdge C1100: high-memory, power-efficient, cluster-optimized compute node server
  • PowerEdge C2100: high performance data analytics, cloud compute platform and cloud storage server
  • PowerEdge C6100: 4-node cloud and cluster optimized shared infrastructure server

Perhaps significantly, one of the more important parts of this set of announcements are the turnkey cloud solutions comprised of pre-tested, pre-assembled and fully-supported hardware, software and services enabling customers easily and quickly to deploy and manage cloud infrastructures with confidence, taking much of the guesswork out of building and running efficient private and public clouds. This is a key theme of our “Efficient Enterprise” Strategy and best value solutions.

With no apologies to James Governor, would you like some meat for that burger? One of the first solutions will be a Dell Cloud solution for web applications. It’s a web application platform as a service (PaaS) solution, and is designed to address the key issues around web application development and deployment: unpredictable traffic, the fear of under-provisioning and migration from development to production. The solution will combine Dell cloud-optimized servers and services with fully-integrated Web application cloud software from Joyent.

More to come as today rolls on, but the formal press release for the cloud related announcements can be found here.

Back on the blog

Wow, is it really March 2010?? Time has been flying by, I’ve been busy working with the team on a set of REST based UI interfaces for the next generation of PowerEdge embedded management processors, and hope to be able to share more of that work soon. We are also working towards a more open source “appliance” like software stack for our development teams to use to base a number of emerging technology and opportunity areas on. This should yield some interesting developments in the next 24-months.

Of course we get to welcome the KACE team to Dell. Kace bring client side and OS management appliances into our growing customer solutions portfolio. Given their products are specifically focussed on client side management they are a great fit, I’ve not had any involvement with the team yet, but am looking forward to our first meeting to review our appliance development plans.

Bastrop State Park Ride

Riding in Bastrop State Park

I had the opportunity to cycle with Michael Dell prior to the 2010 Dell World Wide Executive meeting, and this was I think the only point I was smiling. Michael rode at a fair pace around the hilly 24-miles we did in Bastrop State Park, and it was the prelude to an exciting meeting where Michael and the team took us through the Dell Transformation, which will again give us the opportunity to focus around some key and core values.

The reason I jumped back on the blog though was that early this morning I got to go look at the latest additions to the PowerEdge 11g server line. The official web site is here and the press release with specific details, here. I was specifically impressed with the PowerEdge R310, which is a 1-socket, 1U server aimed at helping small and medium businesses grow and thrive. It includes Dell’s embedded Lifecycle Controller along with state-of-the-art serviceability and diagnostics with optional interactive LCD. Other features include:

  • RAID configurations to help increase data reliability and/or increase I/O;
  • Choices in operating systems for diverse computing workloads, including Microsoft Windows, Red Hat, Novell SUSE, VMware XenServer and Solaris
  • Energy-optimized technologies, including lower wattage power supplies.

If vou found your way here for the first time via a search engine and want to know more about our embedded management and Systems Management strategy, here is a great starting point in PDF format.

Next up is building out on our Efficient Enterprise strategy, with more details on workload composition and automation.

About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I'm an information technology optimist.

I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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