Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dell Releases a New Portfolio of PowerEdge Servers

In early September, Dell unveiled its most advanced portfolio of PowerEdge servers to date with the 13th generation. The portfolio features customer-inspired engineering that is constructed to simply management and enhance workloads. Designed to address and optimize the ever-changing spectrum of application workload requirements and industry trends such as cloud computing, big data, mobility, and software- defined networking (SDN), the new Dell PowerEdge portfolio features new state-of-the-art advancements including increased storage, processing, and memory technology coupled with systems management capabilities.

The first of the new next generation PowerEdge servers includes the PowerEdge R730xd, R730, and R630 rack servers, the T630 tower server, and the M630 blade server. Each of these PowerEdge servers run on the latest Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processor family and include Dell’s portfolio of enterprise infrastructure offerings, software, and service. As many challenges and pressures have been forced upon IT organizations that did not even exist a few years ago, it is important to find the perfect balance of implementing new technology without increasing complexity within any data center. To achieve this goal, the Dell PowerEdge portfolio focuses on three underlying principles: simplification of systems management, accelerating application performance, and empowering workloads in any environment.

With increased operational efficiency and flexibility at any scale for the most demanding environments and applications, the new generation of PowerEdge servers are built to leverage modern storage technologies that are future-proof. New in-server storage technology provides industry-leading capabilities including accelerating the most important data, zone large datasets, and support software defined storage and optimized data placement.  Dell’s new PowerEdge servers offer flexible platforms and innovative architectures that empower customers to modify systems to meet their exclusive workload and application requirements including unified communications, business computing, virtualization, collaboration, and technical computing. 

Dell will be sharing much more on the new PowerEdge portfolio at Dell World 2014 November 4-6 in Austin, Texas.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

SDN Market Sees Continued and Expected Growth in the Coming Years

Today many IT departments are moving towards software-defined networking (SDN) in their data centers. SDN is an approach to computer networking where control is separated from the physical infrastructure and allows network administrators to manage network services and support a network fabric across multi-vendor equipment. As an emerging architecture that is manageable, adaptable, dynamic, and cost-effective, SDN is ideal for high-bandwidth and demanding applications. There are many trends driving IT administrators to this network change, including changing traffic patterns, the rise of big data and cloud services, increasing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, the inability to scale, and vendor dependence.

There are many benefits of using software defined networking including flexibility in how the network can be used and operated, improved uptime through eliminating manual intervention, lowering operational costs, infrastructure savings, better planning with increased visibility into the network, and better management through Managed Service Providers (MSP).

In a study published in August 2014 by Infonetics Research, titled Data Center and Enterprise SDN Hardware and Software Annual Market Size and Forecasts, the firm stated that it found that the enterprise and data center SDN market grew 192 percent in 2013 and is expected to reach $18 billion by the year 2018. Up from 2012, the in-use SDN Ethernet switch revenue, including bare metal switches, branded Ethernet switches and virtual switches, grew ten-fold. This increase was found to be a result of the increases in white-box bare metal switch deployments by large cloud service providers such as Amazon and Google.

At the top of the in-use SDN-capable switch in the data center is the bare metal switch, which is expected to account for 31 percent of the total SDN-capable switch revenue by the year 2018. Infonetics Research also predicts that leaders in the SDN market will emerge during the upcoming years as lab trials transfer into live production deployments. In the meantime, the transition of SDN network virtualization overlays is predicted to reach mainstream buy 2018.

To conduct this study Infonetics Research gathered data by tracking SDN controllers and Ethernet switches in-use as well as SDN-capable Ethernet switches. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In Midst of Sale to Lenovo, IBM Releases Updated x86 Server Line

IBM launched a new line of System x M5 generation servers in early September despite the sale of the x86 server line to Lenovo. On October 1st, Lenovo announced that they have completed the initial closing for the acquisition of the IBM x86 server business. This series is likely to be the last release of x86 servers by IBM before the purchase goes through.

The new line of IBM M5 x86 servers is designed to support a wide range of computing environments and enterprise workloads and contains features that make it secure, efficient, and reliable. With this release, IBM hopes to expand the x86 server use case with features unique to the new M5 line including IBM Trusted Platform Assurance security features, energy-saving TruDDR4 memory, and new Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors. Other features of the new M5 x86 server line include added hardware support for the Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) that will enable more encryption algorithms and Windows support, and a new Secure Firmware Rollback feature that will prevent unauthorized updates of previous firmware versions.

Improved energy efficiency is also prevalent in the IBM x86 servers with new features including dual fan zones, standby mode for power supplies, and extended operating temperature ranges. The new M5 servers provide up to 131% performance improvements over previous generations for faster analytics and improved business decision-making capabilities. Each M5 server can come loaded with up to 1.5TB of memory and range from 1U to 5U in form factor height. The M5 platform comes in configurable models of tower and rack servers, dense systems, blades and integrated systems. System x servers continue to have the highest availability of all x86-based servers which is a crucial factor for business that cannot afford downtime.

IBM remains the second-largest holder of the global server market despite its decision to leave the x86 server business. IBM continues to strike success from selling fewer big ticket items than selling many commodity x86 servers, which explains its reasoning for walking away from its x86 line to focus on other areas. Lenovo will now begin the transition in countries that are a part of the initial closing which includes most major markets. The transaction is expected to close in most other countries later this year with the full acquirement in all countries by early 2015. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Juniper Networks Enhances Spotlight Secure

Juniper Networks has enhanced the capabilities of the Spotlight Secure threat intelligence platform by integrating the ability to link with firewall policies in Juniper Networks SRX Series Services Gateways. This enhancement is one more way that Juniper Networks is working to provide additional layers of defense in the effort to stop advanced malware and emerging threats.  With this new capability, administrators and security professionals can quickly take action on data from verified threat detection feeds and enhance the protection of their high-IQ networks.

As threats continue to increase, accelerate, and evolve, security continues to react with many new technologies. With a vast selection of security tools on the market, customers are still struggling to manage mismatched security tools.  As a result, gaps are left between enforcement and detection at the firewall. Juniper’s revamp of the Spotlight Secure platform addresses these issues and provides administrators with new benefits not found in any other platform.

Highlights of the new enhancements include an intelligent firewall, tight integration with the network, and advanced threat protection. Advances to the SRX firewall now allow it to consume and enforce policy based on the aggregated threat intelligence from detection technology and feeds that are located in the cloud and on premises. Cloud-based threat feeds and customer firewalls are now linked via Juniper Networks Junos Space Security Director and Spotlight Secure as they provide a sole aggregation point for many feeds into the firewall. New threat feeds for Spotlight Secure provide C&C and GeoIP feeds that adapt protection and firewall policies based on the severity of threats in the network.  These features also allow the firewall to identify and block traffic from indicated countries and /or send their traffic through added security services.

Spotlight Secure integrated with the SRX firewall brings new capabilities that allow users to effectively take on threats within their network. With an open and scalable security platform, users can now achieve diverse threat intelligence and detection to provide timely, actionable enforcement on the firewall that can stop a wide range of threats. Increased security effectiveness provides users with the ability to use and employ industry-leading technologies, delivering real-time integration between threat feeds and the firewall. With the Spotlight Secure simplified enforcement model, users can significantly reduce administration costs. Centralized management brings threat intelligence feeds, reporting, and more, available in a single pane view with Security Director, while the latest aggregated threat intelligence can automatically syndicate across the entire firewall. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

VMware Virtual SAN – Delivering Radically Simple Storage

In today’s data centers, conventional storage systems are overwhelmed as a result of huge data volumes and complex solutions. With a new approach to storage, VMware Virtual SAN is a new software-defined storage tier for VMware vSphere that clusters server-side disks and flash to create simple, high performance, flash-optimized shared storage that is designed for virtual machines.

As hypervisor-converged storage software, Virtual SAN is embedded in the vSphere kernel, which allows optimal data placement and I/O optimizations. With this unique characteristic, Virtual SAN makes integration with vSphere seamless and provides the highest levels of performance, scalability and resilience. With the flexibility to build customized storage systems in heterogeneous hardware environments, Virtual SAN can be deployed on hardware from any server manufacturer.

Storage management is made simple because Virtual SAN is integrated with the vSphere Web Client. This integration allows for simple management of both storage and compute through a single interface. At the core of VMware Virtual SAN is policy-based provisioning. Policies are created and assigned to a VM and Virtual SAN handles the rest. As workloads shift, policy adjustments are made simple and allow users to make the policies while Virtual SAN adjusts them without interrupting service. When there is a need to expand capacity or performance, hosts can be added to a cluster or disks can be added to a host. VMware Virtual SAN also has no LUNs or RAID configurations while removing the need for manual adjustments by automating time-consuming tasks.
VMware Virtual SAN

VMware Virtual SAN works seamlessly with the entire VMware stack and leverages VMware snapshots, VM clones, VMware vSphere Data Protection, and vSphere Replication for data protection, backup, rapid cloning, and disaster recovery. With built-in fault tolerance, Virtual SAN supports a failures-to-tolerate setting on a per-VM or per-policy basis allowing for granular protection of important data by distributed copies across vSphere hosts.

There are many benefits of VMware Virtual SAN including the fact that it is the first policy-driven storage product that simplifies how storage in managed. High performance is achieved through the use of server-side flash technology which enables true server-side read/write caching.

With the use of enterprise-grade HDDs and SSDs to create a converged and resilient SAN-like storage tier within the hypervisor, Virtual SAN lowers the Total Cost of Operation (TCO) by up to 50 percent over virtual storage appliances and mid-range hybrid arrays. Virtual SAN also allows users to make a low upfront investment and grow the aspects of storage that their environment requires over time.