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Dell Storage Forum Brings Wave Of New Products

With its new EqualLogic blade storage, vStart blade datacenter system, and migration services, Dell strives for performance and cost efficiency.

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At its annual Dell Storage Forum 2012 in Boston, Dell this week announced a variety of storage arrays and enhancements to its storage portfolio. The new products are geared toward efficiency, cost containment, and scalability.

The company introduced a new EqualLogic Blade Array that fits with PowerEdge M620 11G or 12G blade servers and Force 10 GbE switches in a single M1000e blade chassis. The Dell PS-M4110 has dual, hot-pluggable 10GbE controllers with 4GB of memory per controller and one dedicated 10/100 management port that connects to 14 6Gbps Serial Attached SCSI 2.5-inch drives. As many as four PS-M4100s can fit in the blade chassis, with as many as 16 storage blades outside the chassis in a PS6000 series array.

Like other EqualLogic arrays, load balancing, snapshot, cloning, replication, and thin provisioning software is included at no charge. Other included features are support for thin clones; Auto-Snapshot Manager for Microsoft, VMware, and Linux; multi-Path I/O for failover; PowerShell Tools; DataStore manager; and SAN HQ.

[ HP says its new backup systems are the fastest in the industry. Read about them at HP Claims Record-Setting Backup Speeds. ]

The EqualLogic SAN Array software has also been enhanced and will be available later this year. Enhancements include the ability to replicate data synchronously between two locations for disaster recovery and data protection, snapshot borrowing, volume-un-map and volume undelete, self-encrypting drives, and IPSEC support.

SAN HQ, EqualLogic's monitoring and analysis tool, has also been enhanced, and like the SAN Array software, will be available later this year. SAN HQ will now have advanced diagnostics, including live transmission of alerts for critical events. Also new is its Host Integration Tools (HIT)/Microsoft 4.5--AutoSnapshot Manager for SharePoint, which enables IPSAN integration with Microsoft and SharePoint.

Dell also introduced the vStart 1000, a new blade datacenter system that pairs Compellent storage with PowerEdge servers and Force 10 switches and complements other blade datacenter systems--the vStart 50, 100 and 200--introduced last year.

While the Dell Virtual Networking systems are not the first to integrate storage blades, they fit well into Dell's portfolio of systems, targeted to small and mid-sized businesses, which are pre-configured, easy to install, manageable, and scalable. HP was first to the storage blade party with its HP SB40C Storage Blade announced last year, which fits in a BladeSystem enclosure.

Dell also rolled out new migration planning and migration service to aid customers in transitioning from legacy storage platforms to Dell Compellent, EqualLogic, and PowerVault storage systems.

In addition, Dell upgraded its distributed Fluid File System to work across all Dell storage platforms, including Compellent, EqualLogic, and its PowerVault network attached storage (NAS) systems. The FluidFS now includes file snapshots and replication as well as built-in data protection.

Dell also introduced a new Compellent Storage Center SAN, new controllers and an enclosure, which enables unified SAN/NAS capability in the same array. The new FS8600 scales across four appliances and provides as much as 1PB of storage capacity across a single namespace. The SC8000 Storage Center controller uses a 12G Dell PowerEdge server instead of an industry-standard server as its system component. And the new Compellent SC200 and SC220 enclosures are 2U in height and support as many as 12 3.5-inch or 24 2.5 inch drives for a maximum scalability of 960 drives.

Finally, Dell launched a new version of its AppAssure software, intended to provide data protection for the datacenter to the cloud.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.

From thin provisioning to replication to federation, virtualization options let you reclaim idle disks, speed recovery, and avoid lock-in. Get the new, all-digital Storage Virtualization Guide issue of Network Computing. (Free registration required.)

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