Dell Boosts Private-Cloud Ties with Microsoft with vStart 200

Dell has announced the new vStart 200 server, a new hardware product that can host up to 200 virtual machines.

vStart 200 works with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 using Datacenter licensing, which grants "unlimited" virtualization rights. vStart 200 is preconfigured for quick deployment and includes three years of support from Dell. The hardware is validated to work with VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors, according to Dell's brochure. It's an option to use vSphere or Microsoft System Center solutions for management.

Dell also offers its own Advanced Infrastructure Management software, which is now integrated with Microsoft System Center, according to a Dell announcement. The integrated solution is currently available for North American and Brazilian markets, with further extensions planned, according to a Microsoft announcement.

vStart products include "servers, storage, networking, power, cabling and the rack," according to Dell. The company also offers vStart 50 and vStart 100 products, with the whole product family described as "scalable" infrastructure.

Dell is a Microsoft private cloud fast-track partner, joining other hardware manufacturers such as Cisco, Fujistu, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and NEC in offering integrated products for private clouds. The common thread behind this fast-track program is a partnership that offers hardware solutions running Windows Server designed as "reference architecture" for private cloud installations. It's for organizations that want to deliver applications as services with the option to scale their infrastructure, sometimes using mixed hardware.

Microsoft, for its part, has stepped up its marketing push on the private cloud. The company kicked off its initiative this month by announcing that System Center 2012 solutions have reached release candidate status. In keeping with this initiative, licensing for System Center 2012 has been simplified. There now are two products, Standard and Datacenter, with the latter offering unlimited virtualization rights. Details are described in new Microsoft-produced videos.

The private cloud documentation is rolling out too. Microsoft's TechNet wiki recently published a "Reference Architecture for the Private Cloud" that's designed for IT service providers. A "service provider" is Microsoft's term for IT professionals that provision backend hardware designed to deliver applications as services to an organization.

There's also an older Microsoft white paper, dated February 2011, that recommends the reference architecture for the "Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track Program" (PDF).

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.