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Dell Expands Storage Portfolio With Cost-Efficient Solutions

By - Source: Dell

Dell announced several new storage appliances today to address the new realities of the enterprise storage market. Dell has been on a self-professed quest to redefine the economics of enterprise storage, and in that vein, it recently introduced the entry-level Dell Storage DC4020 AFA (All Flash Array) for a mere $25,000.

Dell's disruptive pricing mantra is unending, but the company also aspires to pair economy with flexibility. New architectures and services, such as cloud computing, are challenging the established norms of traditional IT environments. Dell designed the new offerings to enhance its existing products for traditional architectures and simultaneously increased its investment in the "Blue Thunder" SDS (Software Defined Storage) portfolio, which addresses the emergence of the new IT model. 

Dell's 2010 Compellent acquisition went well for the company, and as a natural result of the integration it is combining its PS Series, which has over 160,000 systems under maintenance contracts, and the SC Series (from Compellent), into a single product line. The company also combined the worldwide design teams in a move to streamline the design process and reduce cost.

Dell's entry-class SCv2000 Series array sits under the PS4000 and SC8000 Series in the product stack and starts at a $14,000 list price. Three models are available: The SCv2000 comes in a 2U with 12 HDDs, the SCv2020 utilizes the same 2U design with 24 HDDs, and the SCv2080 offers a beefy 5U chassis with 84 HDDs. The maximum array capacity weighs in at 504 TB. Administrators can scale capacity without additional capacity licensing fees, and there are three expansion units available in the the SC100, SC120 and SC180.

The SCv2000 Series offers many of the core features found on Dell's premium models, such as the SC8000. The arrays come with central management, RAID tiering, remote and local data protection, thin provisioning, and Dell ProSupport services worked into the base cost. The system allows users to mix and match SSDs and HDDs. Connectivity comes courtesy of FC, iSCSI, SAS or multi-protocol connections. The arrays support up to 2,000 snapshots, 500 replications and Dell's Replay Manager.

The PS6610 Series replaces the PS6510 and comes in hybrid and spindled configurations. The box boasts up to 3.5x the capacity and 2.8x the density of its predecessor (up to a half of a petabyte in its 5U chassis), and the ability to support up to 504 TB per array. Dell indicated the hybrid version increases performance up to 7x over the previous generation, and it comes with 10 Gbe connectivity.

The PS6610 also comes with Dell's EqualLogic PS Series Array Software 8.0. This new update, which is free to all of the existing 160,000 PS Series arrays, adds a robust set of new functionality. The software update adds VMware VVol (Virtual Volumes) support, compression (up to 50 percent with snapshots and replicas), default daily snapshots and space borrowing with replication. The upgrade includes all of the new features with no additional hidden licensing costs.  

Dell's SDS "Blue Thunder" Solutions Portfolio already has several key players in the stable, including Nutanix, VMware, Nexenta and Red Hat. Dell is expanding the portfolio with the addition of its Dell Storage with Microsoft Storage Spaces products, which come in five configurations. These solutions start as low as 10 TB and offer a maximum of a petabyte of storage.

The continuing competition from whitebox vendors and ODMs is beginning to take a toll on many of the traditional storage vendors. This is placing tremendous pressure on the industry stalwarts to innovate and offer competitively priced solutions, so Dell's latest line of value-centric appliances is timely.

Dell no longer shares its sales figures since going private in 2013, but IDC's latest Worldwide Cloud IT Infrastructure Vendor Report predicted the company experienced a 17.3 percent increase in YOY 4Q14/4Q13 revenue growth for the cloud segment. Dell also enjoys second place in that market segment with 9.6 percent. Dell aims to stay quick on its feet through the merging of its design teams and continued focus on low-cost alternatives, which should help against the whitebox invaders.

The Dell Storage SCv2000 Series arrays are available today. The PS6610 and Dell EqualLogic PS Series Array Software 8.0 will be available globally in early Q3, and the Microsoft Storage Spaces products will roll out in June.