With an eye on the rapidly growing market for hyper-converged infrastructure, Dell announced earlier this week that it is expanding its portfolio of offerings for companies looking to create more streamlined and scalable IT systems.

Dell's expansion is driven in part by the company's new reseller arrangement with VCE, the converged platforms division of EMC. Dell is in the process of merging with EMC -- a deal announced in October -- to create what it said will be "the world's largest privately-controlled, integrated technology company."

In addition to boosting its portfolio with VCE's help, Dell is also rolling out several new offerings of its own. Its latest additions include new Virtual SAN Ready Nodes for VMware-based hyper-convergence solutions, a new Dell XC Series of hyper-converged appliances and new hybrid cloud support for VMware Virtual SAN (storage area network).

Hyper-Convergence Market Nears $1B

The new offerings that the company's infrastructure approach reflects its focus on "enabling customer outcomes versus pushing a one-size-fits-all agenda," said Marius Haas, Dell's chief commercial officer and president of Enterprise Solutions, in a statement.

Dell's reseller arrangement with VCE leaves the company even better positioned to help customers simplify their IT infrastructures, Brian Humphries, president of sales, strategy and alliances for Dell's Enterprise Solutions, said in an EMC statement.

The market for hyper-converged hardware and software grew by more than 162 percent in 2014, and was projected to increase by another 116-plus percent last year, according to 2015 research from the analyst firm IDC. Global sales were estimated at $807 million in 2015, IDC said.

Coming Merger To Boost Dell's Reach

Under its new deal with VCE, Dell will begin offering customers appliances from the VCE VxRail family as well as VCE VxRack systems. Priced starting at $60,000, the VxRail appliances are designed for a variety of small to mid-size deployments.

The addition of VCE's VxRack Node and VsRack System 1000 FLEX to Dell's portfolio will provide customers with "a transformational way" to move from physical storage area networks to hyper-converged systems that can be easily scaled up to thousands of nodes, Dell said.

Dell also announced its new Reference Architecture for EMC Converged Infrastructure, which it said will give customers greater flexibility in deploying rack-scale architecture with Dell's PowerEdge servers.

The VCE VxRail, VCE VxRackNode, Dell XC Series appliances and VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes are available immediately through both Dell and Dell's PartnerDirect channel partners. The VCE VxRack System 1000 FLEX is currently available directly from Dell in the U.S., and is expected to roll out to other markets and channels sometime during the second quarter of this year.

Dell's Reference Architecture for EMC Converged Architecture and other new VMware offerings will also become available in the second quarter, the company said.

Its merger with EMC will give Dell "an immense tactical advantage" and will create an organization that rivals IBM in size "albeit with a very different portfolio," said Forrester Research analyst Richard Fichera in a November blog post.

In February, Dell and EMC received clearance for the merger from the Federal Trade Commission, although the deal still must meet regulatory and shareholder approval. If it meets those requirements, the merger could be finalized sometime in the middle of this year.

Image Credit: Dell XC Series (pictured, bottom) VCE VxRail (pictured, top) courtesy of Dell.