DellEMC World 2017 Wrap Up

I attended DellEMC World 2017 this past week in Las Vegas courtesy of the DellEMC Elect program; but all thoughts below, short of any quotes, are my own for better or worse.

One of the highlights for me, as with many conferences, was the community aspect. From vBeers Sunday night, being invited to Howard Marks’ traditional Lotus of Siam meal on Tuesday, or the various official and unofficial get togethers put on during the week the opportunities to network were plentiful. And it was great to meet those coming into the DellEMC Elect program from the EMC side.

In terms of hardware announcements the new S5100-ON and S4100-ON series switches are of particular interest after an extended period of radio silence from DellEMC’s networking division. Both models ship with the linux based OS10 Enterprise Edition, and can run OSes from Big Switch, Pluribus, Cumulus, Midokura, etc.. The S5100-ON features either 48x25GbE with 6x100GbE uplinks or 72x26GbE interfaces, both pairing nicely with PowerEdge 14g servers which will also ship with 25GbE LoM. The S4100-ON comes in 10GbE copper/fiber and 8/16/32Gb fibre channel flavors all with 100GbE uplinks; breaking with the naming convention the S4148U has ‘unified’ interfaces that can operate in either Ethernet or Fibre Channel modes for increased deployment flexibility.

On the access/campus layer DellEMC announced the N1100-ON family which feature the ONIE bootloader of their data center brethren, but run OS6 natively rather than OS10. As none of the commercial open networking vendors support the access layer at this time, if you want to run something other than OS6, you will need to roll your own. If you have or are looking at deploying AeroHive wireless, the N1100-ON switches become more appealing as they can be managed by the same HiveManager NG cloud instance as the APs. Whether cloud managed networking is a good idea or not is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

In terms of storage, the highlight was the Elect private briefing on XtremeIO X2 from Itzik. 80% lower latency and 3x greater capacity per X-Brick over X1 units are a nice improvement, and allowing odd unit counts will make upgrades easier for customers. In terms of upgrades, both scale up and scale out is possible with up-to 72 drives per shelf (added in groups of 6). Other interesting storage news was the announcement of Project Nautilus; a SDS service that pairs with ECS or Isilon for real-time analysis of high volumes of streaming IoT data. Details are scarce so far, but from what I’ve seen I can’t see any advantages over Splunk, ELK or similar. Other storage announcements felt more evolutionary, bigger/faster/cheaper, with PowerEdge 14g servers forming the basis of SDS solutions and controllers.

Speaking of PowerEdge 14g, not a lot can be said yet pending Intel’s launch of their next gen CPUs but tidbits are a new generation of iDRAC (with HTML 5 console!), improved multi-vector cooling and power efficiency allowing more GPUs per box. More details and pricing information to come mid-2017.