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Dell Steals Virtualization March on HP & IBM

Dell will take a big giant step out ahead of HP and IBM in the virtualization sweepstakes today when it announces that it is OEMing PAN, Egenera’s data center virtualization and management software.

Egenera, which has been doing virtualization way longer than most people, claims PAN is the epitome of what IDC calls “Virtualization 2.0,” the next step beyond simple VMware-style single server virtualization replete with scalability, faster provisioning, high availability, disaster recovery and resource balancing.

VMware and its hypervisor are bully at virtualizing one server at a time. PAN, on the other hand, takes VMware – or for that matter Xen or Microsoft’s Hyper-V when it finally gets here – it doesn’t care it’s hypervisor-agnostic – and virtualizes the data center, creating networks of virtual and physical servers.

It can move individual servers, groups of servers or entire systems from one place to another seamlessly and securely with verifiable disaster recovery and uptime.

Besides server farms, this little miracle also virtualizes storage and networking too.

While HP makes like its rival Virtual Connect management software is now at the sundae stage lacking only the sprinkles and a cherry, Egenera CTO Peter Manca says HP is “still out milking the cow” and that IBM, which invented virtualization for its mainframes, is “still calving.”

Manca calls HP’s approach “disjointed” and “not integrated,” requiring manual intervention to achieve any, say, SAN failover – and then only on its blade servers, not on the many rack servers it sells.

HP can’t treat physical and virtual servers as if they were the same either, Egenera says; PAN can. It’s supposed to have anywhere from a two- to four-year lead on the market.

Egenera, which continues to sell and enhance its own Pan-integrated BladeFrame servers, decided to port its infrastructure virtualization magic to other people’s x86 machines late last year.

Fujitsu Siemens, which OEMs Egenera’s BladeFrames, was first to take it up on its offer and signed up for PAN on its industry standard Primergy servers.

Both the Dell and Fujitsu Siemens ports should appear on the market at about the same time before the end of this June.

Manca say the ports are pretty much done. Discussions between Dell and Egenera began nine months ago.

Dell’s deal is obviously not exclusive. PAN could still wind up on IBM and HP gear but both are closer rivals of Egenera on the hardware side than Dell is and both have not-invented-here sensitivities.

Dell intends to sell the widgetry on PowerEdge servers initially through its Advanced Solutions unit along with infrastructure consulting services. The widgetry is expected to wend its way to Dell’s channel.


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