VIS from the top

Michael Dell recently spoke at the 2010 Gartner conference. One of the questions he was asked was about the evolutionary and revolutionary approaches to IT, most recently amplified by the cloud discussion. Michael nails it when discussing the Dell approach with our Data Center Solutions business, our PowerEdge C servers and the Virtual Integrated System aka VIS.

3 Responses to “VIS from the top”


  1. 1 jnnz November 25, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I’ve recently had a good look at AIM/VIS. It is an interesting product but at this stage the requirement to build images that included drivers for every hardware platform the persona was potentially going to move to defeats a lot of the purpose. It will be good to see this with more of a driver injection method, so as new hardware is introduced to a farm, persona’s can move to it.

    Our use case for AIM was to use it as an underlying hardware cloud platform to deliver resources internally to different cloud platforms i.e. cloud for a cloud provider. This would allow us to leverage the same investment in raw resources such as storage and compute, to deliver different platforms. So an ESX server could be reprovisioned to a Joyent server, and then to a Zimbra node depending if the IaaS, PaaS or SaaS platform required additional resource.

    The ability for AIM to do more with storage would also be good, as would some closed loop capacity management so AIM can make decisions about hardware utilization and therefore provision resources appropriately.

    The other area we felt improvement was necessary was around the network profiles. Simply deploying L2 profiles (e.g. configuring VLAN’s on switchports) doesn’t go far enough, especially with converged networking where port buffer profiles and DCB settings such as PFC are going to be absolutely critical.

    The other main use case we had was to migrate datacentre customers to being cloud customers without having to do a full P2V conversion to a proprietary virtual disk format. Again, driver injection, or some form of hardware abstraction would really help here.

    Hope this is useful. Looks like the making of a good product.

    • 2 cathcam December 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. Yep, the driver issue is one we understand, it gets less of an issue the fewer stacks/VM’s you build and the more common the hardware you deploy to, but you are right its a level of complexity we don’t currently address.

      A lot of the additional function, automation, orchestration will come in the full VIS product in 2011 in which we’ll embed a copy of AIM, also VIS Creator, delivering a much more seamless deployment model. While we don’t have line items for the environments you list, we do plan to have some initial cloud deployments. Looks like we won’t be able to get VIS Director done in time for code complete for R1, but we’ve designed in some UI function that will allow it to be added in by services.

      Would you prefer to get the VIS standalone products and do the integration yourself, or is an “appliance” that includes all the software, as well as orchestration and automation an interesting option ?

      Feel free to reply by email mark underscore cathcart at dell dot com

      Again, thanks for the feedback!

  2. 3 jnnz December 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Cool. I have flicked you an email


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About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formaly 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.

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