Review: Compellent Storage Center 5

Compellent Storage Center 5: High performance, high price

Compellent's Storage Center 5: High performance, high price

Company: Compellent Storage Center 5

Product:

Storage array vendors have generally created arrays that either use SSDs as cache or as a tier 0, but Compellent has created a hybrid of both. SSDs can be added to an existing drive shelf, and can be mingled with SAS 15k standard hard drives. The drives do have to be added in groups of at least two, and a hot spare is currently also required, so the minimum number of drives is three.

In our test system, there were two SSDs in one shelf and three in another, producing a total of about 300GB. At a cost of $67,665 for the SSDs, this doesn't seem to be a great value, since the internal controllers achieved higher performance at much lower costs, but the Compellent system did not suffer from the write cliff, and the system was able to handle five servers running IOmeter without performance degradation, something none of the other systems in this test could do.

A system using 8Gbps Fibre Channel controllers, which Compellent will support this year, should be able to achieve IOps and throughput numbers comparable to the internal controllers, but with the ability to support multiple servers and scale to much higher capacities.

Compellent optimizes the use of SSDs through its Automatic Data Progression technology, which moves files in use to the fastest tier of storage available. While you can designate specific volumes to be run only on SSDs, if you use the default settings, the most-used files are automatically moved to the SSDs, and if they aren't used for a while, they are automatically migrated to slower drives.

This ensures that the SSDs are fully utilized, and can effectively accelerate performance for the entire storage system without requiring a large number of SSDs. While the cost of the system is higher than the others in this test, it also offers more features and much greater scalability.

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