Dell Refreshes EqualLogic Storage Arrays, Adds SSDs

Use of lower-cost SSDs from Samsung lets Dell compete on price while still offering high performance

March 26, 2009

3 Min Read
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More than a year ago, Dell completed its acquisition of EqualLogic, a successful vendor of iSCSI SANs. The PC and server vendor had agreed in November of 2007 to pay $1.4 billion for the company, which was riding the momentum behind iSCSI and was doing well in the still-booming storage market. On Wednesday, Dell introduced the first new line of EqualLogic products since the deal, a family of storage products designed to appeal to IT managers coping with shrinking budgets.

The mid-range PS6000 line offers a range of hardware options, including an "affordable" solid-state disk array, additions to EqualLogic's software management package, a batch of consulting services, and a new unified storage array from EMC. "This is our first major refresh for the product line and we are emphasizing ease of use, ease of deployment, and ease of scalability," says Travis Vigil, senior manager for Dell storage.

The entry-level PS6000E line ranges from a version with a single 2-TB controller and eight 250-GB SATA drives to one with a 16-TB dual controller with 16 drives. The PS6500E includes a system with a 24-TB dual controller with 48 500-GB SATA drives and one with a 48-TB dual controller with 48 1-TB SATA drives. The PS6000X offers a 6.4-TB dual controller with 16 400-GTB SAS drives. The PS6000XV offers either a 4.8-TB or 7.2-TB dual controller with 16 SAS drives, either 300 GB or 450 GB. Prices start at around $17,000.

Dell also jumped on the SSD bandwagon with the PS6000S, a system with either a 400-GB or 800-GB dual controller and eight or 16 SSDs of 50 GB. The SSDs are made by Samsung and start at around $25,000 for eight 50-GB drives. "The rest of the market went for very high performance and very expensive SSDs," Vigil says. "We are taking a less expensive approach with the Samsung drives, but we are still offering a significant performance improvement compared to 15K hard drives. It lets our customers get the benefits of solid state with less cost than what other systems are offering."

Dell also added the NX4, its version of EMC's Celerra NX4, which offers primary storage data reduction capabilities and connectivity to Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and NAS.The EqualLogic storage suite includes new support for Microsoft Syper-V Smart Copysnapshots for quick recovery of virtual machines. The PS6000 arrays also are VMware vStorage-ready. EqualLogic also introduced a new centralized dashboard called SAN Headquarters, which can monitor performance for dozens of PS Series groups. It will be made available to current customers at no charge.

The new systems should appeal to IT managers struggling with tight budgets, Steve Duplessie, founder of Enterprise Strategy Group, said in a statement. "Cutting operating costs is paramount and gaining efficiency everywhere you can is all that matters," he said. "This is exactly why we are seeing accelerated interest in technologies such as iSCSI, and for Dell specifically, as they just keep on adding more and more value to their EqualLogic line while effectively lowering the real cost of owning and operating their systems." InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of the challenges around enterprise storage. Download the report here (registration required).

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