Dell Technologies Aims for Hybrid Edge

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By: Mary Jander

Dell Technologies (NYSE: Dell), the majority stakeholder in VMware (NYSE: VMW), has unveiled a spate of innovations for the Google Cloud Platform, grabbing attention for all three entities. And while it’s aimed at enterprises with hybrid cloud goals, the news also highlights the trend toward service opportunities at the 5G edge.

Dell’s announcement is based on its Dell Technologies Cloud (DTC), the vendor’s marketing umbrella for a combination of Dell EMC data center hardware and VMware virtualization. It is clearly geared to enterprises of all kinds seeking to wrangle increased use of cloud services with sophisticated data center environments. Here’s an attempted breakdown:

  • DTC’s OneFS for Google Cloud. Dell Tech has unified its Isilon network attached storage (NAS) file-storage boxes, which run under an operating system called OneFS, with Google Cloud.
  • DTC Cloud Platform. Full support of Kubernetes and VMs for software lifecycle development in DTC cloud. Users can now develop apps using Kubernetes within their VMware Cloud Foundation hybrid cloud management system.
  • Data-center-as-a-service. Expansion of DTC EMC’s hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) capacities.
  • Better SD-WAN. Enhanced support of software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) management in VMware’s Velocloud.

What Is Really New for DTC?

Much of DTC’s marketing blitz has been long anticipated and discussed. For instance, when Google Cloud announced its Google Cloud VMware Engine on May 14, it promoted it as an enterprise solution for “end-to-end support to migrate and run your VMware environment in Google Cloud.” (Interestingly, the Google Cloud VMware engine isn’t generally available, and when it become so this quarter, it will be offered only in northern Virginia and Los Angeles. Expansion to other areas is set for the second half of 2020.)

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The integration of Kubernetes as well as virtual machines in VMware’s vSphere compute engine was promised last August. Improvements to VMware’s Velocloud SD-WAN were highlighted in its announcement with AT&T last February. VMware also unveiled a deal with Google last July that focused on hybrid cloud management. DTC and VMware announced hybrid cloud integration with Azure last May.

This isn’t to downplay what’s new here. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need for stronger networking to support remote work. File-intensive operations related to entertainment, gaming, and healthcare records management all demand innovation. So support for file-intensive operations is laudable. Also vital is the support of hybrid networking at scale, which will be increasingly needed by enterprises servicing remote workers.

For Dell, VMware, Google, or others serving the hybrid cloud market, today’s announcements indicate further progress in a process started at least two years ago. The effort is part of the strategies of Cisco, HPE, IBM, and others that have been integrating with VMware and cloud providers to address multi-cloud networking.

Hybrid Networks Meet Telco Edge

What may be most significant in Dell’s announcement is its focus on the network edge — where hybrid clouds meet SD-WANs and hook into telco networks, particularly ones geared to emerging 5G.

DTC’s support for data center as a service and all the Velocloud enhancements are aimed to improve data center efficiency not just for enterprise IT but for telcos and managed services based on SD-WAN.

Fittingly, Google Cloud is touting its mission to join up with telcos and garner traction at the network edge. This week, the vendor announced the appointment of ex-Accenture managing director George Nazi as vice president of telecommunications, media and entertainment for Google Cloud.