Dell unveils new storage portfolio

At its first-ever Dell Storage Forum in Orlando last week, Dell introduced several new products from its storage acquisitions - Dell Compellent and EqualLogic - and from its own native PowerVault product line. Attendees at the Storage Forum were charged up about the products and roadmap enhancements, as well as the direction Dell is taking at integrating the products they've used before. About 900 people attended.

At its first-ever Dell Storage Forum in Orlando last week, Dell introduced several new products from its storage acquisitions - Dell Compellent and EqualLogic - and from its own native PowerVault product line. Attendees at the Storage Forum were charged up about the products and road map enhancements, as well as the direction Dell is taking at integrating the products they've used before. About 900 people attended.

Dell claims it is moving to a common platform with its acquisitions. Already it has announced that Ocarina compression and deduplication of primary data will be shared across the Compellent, EqualLogic and PowerVault product lines. In addition, the Dell Scalable File System will also be used in some instantiation in all Dell storage products. And further Dell is insisting on using industry-standard x86 architectures across all three products.

The company accepts that there will be some overlap in its products. "If there wasn't overlap, there would be a gap," says Darren Thomas, vice president and general manager for Dell storage.

The company will work toward further common platforms. All Dell storage will use 3TB drives by year-end. Compellent's Co-Pilot support service will be extended to EqualLogic storage at some time in the future, says Travis Vigil, executive director of product management at Dell.

In the future, users can expect to see from Dell these road map items:

- A scale-up operating system.

- A 64-bit OS in the Compellent Storage Center SAN, extension of its storage tiering technology into the cloud and the use of server-side solid state drives.

- For the Enterprise Manager software, policies by individual site, system or global installation, support for multiple systems as a single federated grid and a single pane of glass management across sites.

Dell's storage platform extends across three demographics. Presently the PowerVault line of products is targeted at the entry-level and small business. Dell EqualLogic is a fit for the mid-sized business and Dell Compellent is the company's data center play.

Among the new products introduced at the Dell Storage Forum are the Dell EqualLogic FS7500, a network attached storage gateway that front-ends EqualLogic iSCSI storage. The FS7500 uses the Dell Scalable File System (a clustered file system. The FS7500 can be configured in two two-node clusters and are supported on Windows or Linux platforms.

The FS7500 supports CIFS and NFS and includes snapshot capability. In addition, it supports the Network Data Management Protocol for backup.

The company also introduced support for Data Center Bridging (DCB) under iSCSI in the EqualLogic software version 5.1. DCB support allows improved quality of service and enhanced load balancing capability, as well as eased thin provisioning awareness with VMware VSphere 4.1.

Further the company announced two new PowerVault arrays - the MD3600f and 3620f. Each provides 8Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity and storage capacity with a maximum of 96 drives. Customers can also intermix 3.5 inch and 2.5 inch drives and solid state, SAS nearline SAS and self-encrypting drives in the same enclosure. And, each array ships with snapshot capability, virtual disk copy and remote replication services.

The FS7500 is expected to ship in the third quarter. The PowerVault MD3600f and MD3620f will be available June 14.

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