Dell Cloud Solutions up and running!

November 19, 2010

Back in March we announced Dell’s cloud solutions.  Today at a press conference in San Francisco we announced their general availability along with some examples of customers who are employing them. (Woohoo!)

What’s the big idea

The idea behind these offerings has been to leverage the experience we in the DCS group have gained over the last several years providing custom systems to some of the world’s largest cloud providers.  These new solutions are targeted at organizations the next tier down (the “next 1,000”) from the hyperscale customers we have been working with.

Who’s using these solutions, a couple of examples

  • Uniserve, a Canadian Internet services provider, has adopted the Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications to offer on-demand access to a high-performance Internet application and consumer delivery platform, for customers to develop iPhone apps to commercial storefronts, to hosting and delivering Software-as-a-Service.
  • InsightExpress, a leading provider of digital marketing research solutions, has deployed the Dell Solution for Data Analytics. The solution combines analytic platform software from Aster Data with Dell PowerEdge C servers with joint service and support, enabling InsightExpress to measure the effectiveness of advertising and brand communications for clients to drive high performing marketing campaigns.

How we got here

We started our expansion by creating a line of specialized PowerEdge C servers patterned after the custom systems we have been designing for the “biggest of the big.”  What we realized though is that, unlike the biggest players who write their own software, the next 1000 don’t just want servers, they want solutions that also include software and services as well.

The three integrated solutions that are available today are:

  • Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications: A turnkey platform-as-a-service offering targeted at IT service providers, hosting companies and telcos.  This private cloud offering combines Dell’s specialized cloud servers with fully integrated software from Joyent.
  • Dell Cloud Solution for Data Analytics: A combination of Dell’s PowerEdge C servers with Aster Data’s nCluster, a massively parallel processing database with an integrated analytics engine.
  • Dell Cloud Solution for Data Warehousing: PowerEdge C servers and Greenplum Database 4.0 for building enterprise data warehouses and consolidating data marts in massively parallel processing environments.

Stay tuned for more news and more solutions!

Pau for now…

Extra-credit reading:

Dell’s hyper scale cloud efforts — Everything you wanted to know in 3 minutes

October 14, 2010

Last week a couple of us went down to San Antonio to help represent the OpenStack project at Rackspace’s partner summit.  While there I met up with the VAR Guy.   Mr. Guy got me chatting about Dell’s Data Center Solutions group, where we’ve been and where we’re going.  Below is the resulting video he put together featuring myself and San Antonio’s greenery. (See the original article this came from).

Some of topics I tackle:

  • How Dell’s Data Center Solutions Group is designing servers for high-end cloud computing
  • How Dell is integrating hardware with software in cloud servers
  • Coming soon: Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications/Leveraging Joyent‘s software
  • Dell’s cloud partner program – where Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, Aster Data and Greenplum fit in.
  • Dell’s commitment to OpenStack

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…

Aster’s Big Data Architecture

September 3, 2010

As I mentioned in my last entry, the week before last I headed out to the TDWI World Conference in San Diego.  Besides talking about Dell’s new BI practice, I was there to represent our data analytics partners, Aster Data and Greenplum.  Both vendors also had booths of their own and I was able to grab some time with Jeff Zeisler, director of pre-sales engineers at Aster Data, to get an overview of their architecture.  Here’s what Jeff had to say:

Some of the ground Jeff covers:

  • Aster is a MPP (massively-parallel processing) data warehouse solution.  It runs on a cluster of commodity hardware that execute SQL queries in parallel.
  • The 3 layers to the architecture:
    • Queen tier – central location users use to submit queries. It figures out how to split up the query and send it to the next tier.
    • Worker tier – where most of the servers are located, where data is stored (locally on the servers) and where all the heavy lifting for processing occurs.  The map reduce framework is built into this tier and sits right next to the SQL execution engine.
    • Loader and exporter tier:  a separate tier of machines that can be used to load new data into the system for  bulk loading.
  • How it works: Query gets broken up across all the machines, they each execute some portion of the query and the result are brought back together at the Queen and returned to the user.
  • New cool things coming up in the next 6 months.


Pau for now…

Big Data in the Windy City

May 20, 2010

The Aqua building, catty corner from my hotel

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, I attended the TDWI (The Data Warehouse Institute) world conference in Chicago.  The show was a mix of courses and exhibit space.

I went to learn about the BI/Data warehousing segment and scout in preparation for the next conference in August.

Why BI?

My interest in the space comes from the fact that two of the three first partners in our Cloud Partner program are in the Data Warehousing and analytics space: Aster Data and Greenplum.  Both these partners are leveraging highly scaled-out architectures to crunch data.

While there, besides checking out the 24 companies on the exhibit floor, I attended three half-day classes: Developing your BI tool strategy, Cool BI, the latest innovations, Extending BI to support online marketing and Web 2.0.

For other newbies like myself, here are some notes from the first course.

My Notes: The layers of the BI Lifecycle stack

BI Suites:

  • What they do : Query, report, analyze, visualize, alert (front end to the chain)
  • The Big 4:  IBM (Cognos), SAP (Business Objects), Oracle (Hyperion), Microsoft
    • They all bought small players who excelled in the space
    • Usually offer the suites as part of a complete BI lifecycle stack
    • Two of the remaining independents are Microstrategy and SAS

Data Management

  • Data warehouse/mart databases and storage
  • Usually in a RDBMS but also in a dedicated OLAP database
  • Examples: Aster Data, Greenplum, Neteeza, Teradata

Data Integration (aka ETL)

  • They extract, transform and load info from the layer below into the layer above.
  • Examples: Informatica

Operational Apps/Systems

  • Planning, ERP, CRM etc
  • Orders, Invoices, Shipping, Web clicks

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…

Datawarehouser Greenplum — Talking to President and Founder, Scott Yara

May 7, 2010

When I was out in the Bay Area for our launch I stopped by data warehouse and analytics player Greenplum.  Greenplum is one of the first three members in our Cloud Partner program (the other two are Canonical and Aster Data.)  I sat down with Greenplum’s President and founder Scott Yara to talk about the company and where they’re going:

Some to the topics Scott tackles:

  • Whats happening in the world of data.
  • How Greenplum began with the open source PostgreSQL database platform and over the last 7-8 years have refactored it and built a massively parallel database kernel engine.
  • How it works:  Greenplum takes the data and physically distributes it across all the Database segments and operates on the data in parallel.  This parallel approach allows Greenplum to process data 10-100x faster than conventional databases.
  • Who is using it: Skype, Fox Interactive, NTT docomo, Deutsche Bank, retailers, large healthcare companies.
  • The enterprise data cloud initiative – Setting a new type of analytics infrastructure that takes advantage of virtualization and the latest in general purpose and multi-core systems and is centered around self-service principles.
  • While a lot of folks are excited about writing apps to the iPhone, the platform that Scott and crew gest really excited about writing to are 2 socket Nehalem servers with a bunch of disk drives behind them.
  • How someone would go about getting started with Greenplum.

Extra Credit reading:

Pau for now…

Dell’s New High Performance Analytics & Cloud Server

April 21, 2010

Last but not least in our tour of the first flight of servers in Dell’s PowerEdge C line is the C2100.  This was filmed last month at our launch right after we closed down our whisper suite.  Click below and join solutions architect Rafael Zamora as he leads you through the thrills, chills and spills of this cool new machine.

Spoiler Alert! A few Highlights

  • This machine is a great high performance data analytics and cloud optimized storage server.  It’s perfect for use in conjunction with software from our Cloud ISV partners Joyent, Aster Data, Canonical or Greenplum.
  • The entire front can be jam-packed with disk drives for mega storage.  You can get up to 24TB by loading twelve 3.5inch 2TB drives.
  • While the C2100 has same system board as the  C1100, it comes with twice the real estate in a 2U form factor.
  • There’s even a platform for two additional drives that you can use for a bunch of different purposes such as separating production and non-production traffic.

Pau for now….

Greenplum teaser starring Scott McNealy & Me :-)

April 1, 2010

Last week I arrived a day before our launch to record videos with some of our cloud partners.   My first stop was Greenplum to interview co-founder and president, Scott Yara (look for that video here in the near distant future).

Given that turnaround is fair play they asked me to appear in a short promo video that they were putting together for Chorus.  Chorus will be officially announced on April 12 and is intended to marry the power of cloud computing and social collaboration with data warehousing and analytics.

I had no idea the illustrious company I would end up being edited-in alongside including my former uber-boss, Scott McNealy (who will be keynoting Greenplum’s Nov 12 event) and UC Berkeley Comp Sci Prof Joseph Hellerstein.

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…

Dell’s New Cloud Server line – An Overview

March 30, 2010

At last week’s Dell Launch, “Solutions for the Virtual Era,” we unveiled the first three systems in our new PowerEdge C line.  These “hyper-scale inspired” systems are based on designs that we have built for our largest scaled-out customers such as Windows Azure, Facebook, and Tencent.

The PowerEdge C line is targeted at both Public and Private cloud builders as well as HPC, Web 2.0, gaming and large scaled out web farms.  In the video below, Dell solutions architect Rafael Zamora walks us through the PowerEdge C6100, C1100 and C2100.

Upcoming posts

In the days to come I will be posting individual walk-thrus of each of the three systems.  I will also be posting interviews I did with executives from our cloud partners Joyent, Aster Data, Greenplum and Eucalyptus (who’s not a partner but provides a key component of our partner Canonical’s Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud).

Extra-Credit reading

Pau for now…

Dell Unveils Cloud Solutions (Yippee!)

March 24, 2010

Today is the big day.  The one we’ve been working towards for a long time.  As a part of Dell’s quarterly launch “Solutions for the Virtual Era,” we are announcing the introduction of:

  • Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications, our first Revolutionary cloud solution.  Partnering with enterprise-class cloud pioneer Joyent, we are offering a turnkey private PaaS solution comprised of pre-tested, pre-assembled and fully-supported hardware, software and services — all sold and supported by Dell.  This integrated solution is targeted at enterprise app developers who are looking to develop “new world” applications in the cloud to be deployed in the cloud.
  • The Cloud Partner Program Working with cloud ISVs we will be offering easy-to-buy and deploy cloud solutions and blueprints optimized for and validated on Dell platforms.  The first three partners we are announcing are Aster Data (providing web analytics), Canonical (offering an open source Infrastructure-as-a-Service private cloud) and Greenplum (self-service data warehousing).   (On the Evolutionary cloud side we will continue to work with VMware and Microsoft  and stay tuned for news on what’s happening on the Windows Azure front :).
  • A new line of hyperscale-inspired PowerEdge C servers including the PowerEdge C1100, C2100 and C6100 targeting HPC, data analytics, gaming and cloud builders.  These are based on the designs we have created for the some of the worlds largest internet companies and cloud providers.
  • A suite of cloud professional services to help customers assess, deploy, design and manage dedicated solutions.

This is just a quick overview of what we are announcing today.  Stay tuned for more details and info in the coming days and weeks.

Extra credit reading: Our Cloud solutions press release

Pau for now…

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