Server Farming

Dec 17 2008   8:33PM GMT

Dell shipping Egenera PAN Manager on PowerEdge servers – finally

Bridget Botelho Profile: Bridget Botelho

Dell announced today it has officially begun shipping Egenera’s Processor Area Network (PAN) Manager software on its PowerEdge servers sold in North America, nine months after originally announcing it would do so.

When Dell first reported it planned to ship Malboro, Mass.-based Egenera’s PAN Manager software, it was slated for availability by June. Dell did not respond to questions regarding the delay by the time of this posting.

But, now that it is shipping, PAN Manager software will extend beyond the hypervisor and virtualizes I/O infrastructure on Dell PowerEdge servers, including Ethernet network interface cards, Fibre Channel, host bus adapters (HBAs), and Ethernet and Fibre Channel switches. PAN Manager graphic

By virtualizing I/O, PAN Manager essentially creates an entire virtual datacenter where nothing is tied to physical hardware, applications or operating systems. This allows IT to allocate compute, storage, and network resources wherever and whenever necessary. The software also manages both physical and virtual resources under one pane of glass. A demo of how it works is available here, on Egenera’s website.

With PAN Manager software, Dell will have a strength against competitors with virtualization management tools, such as Hewlett Packard Co. and its Virtual Connect software, which pools and abstracts the local area network and storage area network (SAN) connections to servers and virtual machines (VMs) in HP’s BladeSystems.

When Dell first announced its partnership with Egenera, Ideas International analyst Jim Burton posted a blog stating, “In today’s market, Dell can compete very effectively with other vendors on simple server virtualization and SANs. But what it lacks is a management tool that can pull everything together into an entirely virtualized datacenter. That is where PAN Manager comes into play. With PAN Manager, Dell leaps over many of its competitors with the ability to create the virtualized datacenter of the future today using inexpensive industry-standard components…We at IDEAS feel the OEM relationship is a win-win for Dell and Egenera, as well as the customers of both companies”

Unlike other software that Dell resells, PAN Manager is integrated with the Dell hardware in the factory. “That means the customer doesn’t have to worry about installing software, and all the pieces work together correctly with multiple vendors. Dell also provides any professional services and offers first line support on Dell / PAN Systems,” said Christine Crandell, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Egenera.

PAN software existed only on Egenera’s BladeFrame products until November 2007, when the company opened it up to third-party hardware. Fujitsu Siemens Computers was the first official OEM, and Egenera PAN Manager is now integrate into its Primergy server line as well.

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