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Back in April 2011, Dell, Microsoft and VMware got into a three-way marriage to co-develop private cloud systems. As nature would have it, nine months after the consummation of the deal, the partnership is resulting in new offspring.

On Jan. 25, the trio came out with vStart, a new preconfigured cloud system server that the companies claim can host up to 200 virtual machines at a time using vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V or both.

vStarts run on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 using the company’s Datacenter licensing. This license grants unlimited virtualization rights, which undoubtedly will be a big selling point to data center managers worried about VM proliferation. A lot of managers are worried about this, which has already become the single biggest virtualization issue in the business, thanks to growing data flows coming into systems.

vStart, which comes in three models (50m, 100m and 200m), includes three years of "one-throat-to-choke" support from Dell. The systems are sanctioned to work with either VMware vSphere or Microsoft System Center solutions for the cloud management.

As an option, Dell offers its own Advanced Infrastructure Management software, which is already integrated with Microsoft System Center. At this time, the AIM platform is available for only North American and Brazilian markets, but other markets are in the plans.

vStart systems are all-inclusive, using Dell-supplied hardware, including server (PowerEdge), storage (EqualLogic), networking (PowerConnect), backup power system and everything else that’s needed.

"The early customers who have used the vStarts like the fact that it’s easy to get into operation, that the management integration is really quite superb, and that it’s easy to use once it’s in operation," Benjamin Tao, director of Dell Virtualization Solutions, told eWEEK.

Configuration details on the vStarts are as follows:

vStart 100m (can run 100 VMs): 4x PowerConnect switches; 3X R710 PowerEdge Servers (host VMs); 1X R610 PowerEdge Server (Management); 1X PS 6100 series EqualLogic array; 1 UPS; full license for Microsoft Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V; pricing starts at $119,900.

vStart 200m (up to 200 VMs): 4x PowerConnect switches; 6X R710 PowerEdge Servers (host VMs); 1X R610 PowerEdge Server (Management); 2X PS 6100 series EqualLogic array; 2 UPSes; full license for Microsoft Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V; pricing starts at $209,000.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Dell, Microsoft, VMware Partnership Results in vStart Cloud System