The new Dell SC8000 can help extend the life of your storage investments with Compellent Storage Center solutions. Flexible, non-disruptive storage options including flash-optimized solutions that offer flash at the price of disk and enable your data center to grow seamlessly without forklift upgrades.

  • Controls SAS and FC drive enclosures, including those with write-intensive SLC and read-intensive MLC SSDs
  • Simultaneous iSCSI, Fibre Channel (FC) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) front-end interconnects
  • Scales up to 960 SAS drives in multiple enclosures per dual-controller system and scales-out to many systems across numerous sites, monitored by a single console
  • Seamlessly integrates with the FS8600 NAS appliance for fully interoperable block and file storage solutions

Enhanced performance and density

Experience the benefits of combining the Dell Compellent architecture and a resilient Dell hardware design that offers improved performance and increased memory over previous generation Dell Compellent controllers.

  • 2U rack chassis with dual six-core, 2.5GHz (with Turbo) Intel® Xeon® E5-2640 CPUs
  • 16GB2 to 64GB2 total available cache per controller, with a maximum 128GB2 per dual controller system (a dual controller configuration is required to support full high-availability and failover capabilities in production environments)
  • Six PCIe Gen3-enabled expansion slots to extend I/O capabilities for future growth
  • Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC7 Enterprise) to add hardware and environmental monitoring capabilities to the Storage Center solution
  • Storage Center Operating System 64-bit support for improved scalability and performance

For pricing articles and compellent pricing, visit StoragePricing.Org

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…The new tiered flash technology, first unveiled in June at the Dell Enterprise Forum, combines high-speed SLC flash memory with slower but cheaper MLC flash memory, said Bob Fine, director of product marketing for Dell storage.

Dell then applies its Data Progression auto-tiering software to automatically tier data between the SLC and MLC flash memory and to hard drives, Fine said.

“When data comes at it, it is steered to SLC for the best performance in writes,” he said. “The data is then moved to MLC flash, as the read performance of MLC is on par with SLC. It’s unique. No one else has it.”

He gave the example of an all-flash Compellent array with six SLC SSDs and six MLC SSDs providing 12-TB capacity at a cost of about $180,000. To get 12 TB of high-performance disk storage, a company would have to purchase 82 146-GB 15,000-rpm hard drives for a total cost of $229,000.

Original article at CRN

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Original Article from Network Computing

BOSTON–The theme and sound bites during the second day of Dell Storage Forum were all about converged infrastructure, end-to-end solutions and Fluid Data Architecture. The company’s real messages, however, seemed to be “Keep It Simple Stupid,” which was reflected in a number of the products announced, including a new Compellent storage platform, Fluid File System update and a new release of AppAssure.

“The driver of convergence is about simplicity, about trade-offs,” said Dell’s Ben Tao, director, worldwide product marketing, virtualization and private cloud solutions. “It’s about delivering the 20% of functionality but 80% of the tasks that you do.”

Unveiled with the Compellent FS8600 NAS system, the updated Fluid File System is now available on all three Dell storage platforms, including EqualLogic and PowerVault. Enterprise-class features include snapshots, replication, data protection and the ability to manage file and block information on a single storage platform. The array, consisting of the FS8600 and SC8000 controller, includes 2U, 6GB SAS enclosures that hold 12 3.5-inch or 24 2.5-inch disk drives per enclosure and is available in options that support 8GB Fibre Channel and 1 or 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to the client network. Based on the 64-bit Compellent Storage Center 6.0 operating system and SC40 architecture, the new controller can scale up to one petabyte of automated tiered storage capacity within a single namespace.

“I like the Dell Fluid File System story–they are doing a good job of expanding it across the portfolio,” said Terri McClure, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “They still have some work to do on it from a feature-function standpoint, but it probably fits 80% of the requirements out there.”

Randy Kerns, an analyst at Evaluator Group, said that while adding memory to the Compellent platform is a good generational advance, it’s probably more significant for Dell to provide the file system capability across platforms. “The file system (FS8600, in the case of Compellent) platform is based on the Exanet acquisition and has scale-out capabilities to 8 controllers (4 dual nodes). With leveraging the common NAS platform across multiple storage systems, there is great economy for Dell and commonality for customers,” he said.

Dell also introduced second-generation NAS systems featuring the Fluid File System. The EqualLogic FS7600 (1GbE) and FS7610 (10GbE) systems integrate with new or existing PS Series arrays, with file and block storage, including new support for asynchronous replication, managed through the EqualLogic Group Manager. The systems can scale to 509TB within a single namespace. The PowerVault NX3600 (1GbE) can scale to 576TB raw capacity, while the dual-NX3610 (10GbE) solution can scale across two appliances to support up to 1PB capacity within a single namespace.

AppAssure version 5 comes less than four months after the data protection and recovery company was acquired by Dell. In addition to greater scalability and performance, AppAssure uses block-level deduplication and compression across data sets to automatically reduce the storage capacity required for backups and decreases WAN bandwidth requirements for replication by transmitting only optimized data. The company will also add a Linux version later this year, along with localized language support.

Finally, Dell also introduced an entry-level 16Gb Fibre Channel switch, the Brocade DCX 6505, to complement its midrange 6510 and 8510 SAN backbone. The switch will ship this month, as will the Compellent SC800. The five storage arrays will ship in the second half of 2012, while AppAssure 5 is available now.

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The limitations of traditional snapshots

Many companies are using snapshot technology to improve recover-ability over daily tape backups, but traditional offerings have numerous limitations and are difficult to manage. These technologies put a cap on the number of snapshots either per volume or for the array. These solutions also consume excess storage space through pre-allocation, require highly skilled administrators to implement through complicated interfaces
and can have a negative impact on performance, limiting the ability to meet recovery point objectives.

Rapid recovery from any point in time

What if you could protect your data without the limitations of traditional snapshots? Dell Compellent Data Instant Replay software creates point-in-time copies called Replays. With Data Instant Replay, you minimize system downtime with the ability to recover any size volume in seconds and create and store Replays at any time interval with minimal storage capacity and, without performance degradation. By creating space-efficient point-in-time copies based on a schedule that meets your business needs, Compellent Data Instant Replay helps you meet recovery point objectives without traditional storage system restraints. With Data Instant Replay, you’re protected against data hazards and disruptions, including viruses, power outages, hardware failures and human errors.

Key benefits:

  • Eliminate tape for daily backups
  • Minimize system downtime from disk or server failures, viruses or human error
  • Easily set up Replay schedules with intuitive point-and-click interface
  • Cut time and risk by testing new software and patches on actual data before releasing to production
  • Reduce the cost of servers by increasing the efficiency of booting from the SAN

Space-efficient Replays

Dell Compellent Replays are created without an initial clone and contain only written data, rather than the allocated but unused storage typically captured by other snapshot solutions. This space-efficient design enables you to create and store Replays without consuming excess storage capacity or negatively impacting performance. Although Replays only consume a small amount of storage space, every Replay is a readable and writeable volume that can be instantly mapped to any server. Replays automatically expire after a user-specified time and space is automatically returned to the shared storage pool.

Fast recovery compatible with every application

Data Instant Replay works across all operating systems without the expense of server software or server agents. Data Instant Replay integrates with most applications and can provide quick, consistent application recovery. Multiple new volumes can be created from a single Replay to allow multiple teams to work in parallel using the same data—shortening the time it takes to find a problem plaguing a server. This allows you to offer an increased level of service to your end users by recovering deleted files quickly.

Customizable schedules improve recoverability

With Data Instant Replay, you can create Replays at any time interval and keep those Replays as long as needed. This allows you to establish the number of recovery points your business requires and reduce dependence on tape backups. Creating more recovery points minimizes potential data loss so recovery can be targeted as closely as possible to when the failure occurred. With many options available to the administrator, such as, volumes, size of volumes, replays-per-LUN, number of branches using writeable Replays and duration and expiration of Replays, you can create a recovery plan that fits your business. Plus, branched Replays can be created to allow multiple teams to test recovery strategies, test new software or deploy new OS patches without risk. And overlapping Replay schedules allow the coverage of one Replay instance to be substituted for another.

Intuitive interface enables fully automated replays

Administrators of all levels can easily create, track, organize and automate Replays from a single screen with an intuitive point-and-click user interface and wizard-based setup and recovery. Replay schedules are created with easy-to-implement, user-defined policy-based schedules—no scripting is required. Once a rule is created, it can be applied to multiple volumes. You can also import data from existing templates to easily apply standard Replay rules—and rules can be added at any time, even after the volume is in use. This means you can easily implement continuous data protection and spend less time managing backups. Plus, Data Instant Replay gives you PhoneHome status notification and remote and local web-based monitoring to stay in control 24×7.

Grouping for multi-volume consistency

If Microsoft Exchange or SQL Server is using multiple volumes within an array, Replay Manager utilizes consistency groups to make sure that the Replays taken of all those volumes share recovery points created at the exact same point in time—even across multiple servers and multiple application types. In a multi-tiered application environment, this allows you to recover all volumes associated to a particular application or database at an exact, common point in time, with Replay compatibility across the entire environment. Integration with Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) also helps ensure consistent application recovery.

Reduce server costs with boot from SAN

Storage Center optimizes the boot process through the creation of a golden copy of the boot image on the SAN rather than on the internal disk drives within every server—saving money, increasing performance and conserving capacity. Using Data Instant Replay, boot images for every additional server can be made from the original boot image by copying only the minor differences between servers. In this fashion, boot images can be placed on the SAN for literally dozens of servers and consume only slightly more storage than the space typically required by one server.

This allows you to deploy diskless servers—significantly reducing server hardware costs, lowering server maintenance cost by deploying hot spare servers and creating boot volumes for large server farms consuming minimal disk space without limitations on how many servers can access the base volume.

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Dell has introduced the DR4000, its de-duplication appliance based on its Ocarina technology and upgraded the software for its enterprise-class Compellent storage line with 64-bit technology.

Dell Compellent DR4000 PricingThere’s no way around it – we’re in the midst of a data explosion – an explosion many small businesses are struggling to keep up with, without ever-increasing budgets. By eliminating redundancies, organizations can maximize their storage capacity and see immediate results.. However, such technology has previously been out of reach for growing businesses. We’re pleased to announce the wait is over – today we announced the new Dell DR4000 Storage Platform which combines the performance and reliability of disk-based backup with innovative deduplication and compression capabilities from Dell’s Ocarina Networks acquisition.

So, how does it work? Data deduplication inspects chunks of data. A fingerprint of that chunk is taken and looked up in the system’s data index. If the fingerprint is in the index then the chunk does not need to be stored again. Instead the object map is updated and a shortcut is put in place of the duplicate data.

By keeping data online for weeks or even months before moving it to archive storage, customers can more easily locate and restore important data, creating new efficiencies and reducing the total cost of ownership for their storage infrastructure. These capabilities eliminate multiple copies of the same data and enable customers to keep more data online longer and readily available in the event of a disaster or data loss event.

Here are the DR4000 highlights:

* Eliminate redundant copies of data by decreasing disk capacity requirements up to 15 times.
* Reduce dependence on tape backup
* Reduce bandwidth requirements for data transfer by up to 15 times
* Reduce backup storage costs to as low as $0.25/GB
* Reduce the footprint of backup delivering power and cooling savings in the datacenter

In addition to excellent data reduction capabilities, the DR4000 reduces storage costs over time through an all-inclusive software licensing model that allows customers to leverage all of the DR4000 current and future product capabilities without incurring additional licensing costs.

Data deduplication helps optimize storage and more intelligently manage growing data – with less. As Dell continues to evolve its Fluid Data architecture for storage, customers will be able to apply deduplication technology on data in primary storage, backup storage, cloud storage or data in flight for replication, LAN and WAN transfers. So, what are some real-life examples that create duplicate data in a network? Email blasts that include attachments, saving multiple versions of file or the same file in different place and server/desktop virtualization containing redundant images of the same operating system. These activities are becoming more and more common, increasing the importance of deduplication technology for organizations of all sizes.

Implementing deduplication into your backup strategy is a critical part of moving into a next generation data center. What plans do you have in store for deduplication? Is the DR4000 in your future?

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This is the eighth of eight in a series titled 8 Must Haves for the IT Director

Number 8 – Compellent Scale On Demand with an Open, Agile Platform

Unlike systems that require you to rip and replace hardware as your business needs change, Dell
Compellent supports the continual adoption of new technologies on a single, modular platform. This is
a major departure from the status quo, which imposes artificial restrictions on everything from drive
type to server interconnect. Simply put, most storage systems are designed for early obsolescence,
forcing organizations into costly forklift upgrades.

Dell Compellent storage is designed for persistence. Administrators can scale from entry-level to
enterprise on the same platform (from 2 TB to 1,000 TB in the same system) incrementally in line with
business needs. They can also deploy any combination of FC and iSCSI server interfaces, as well as mix
and match SSD, FC, SAS and SATA drives in the same system. Even SAS drives with varying capacities
and rotational speeds can be used in the same enclosures. You can seamlessly adopt new and emerging
technologies on the fly as they become available. And upgrades, port modifications and other changes
in configuration can be implemented on demand without disruption.

Dell Compellent storage also features fully redundant hardware and advanced failover capabilities.
Clustered controllers, each with redundant fans and power supplies, operate in unison for optimum
system performance. Yet each controller connects to enclosures and drives independently to ensure no
single point of failure. Controller port virtualization and dual paths from servers to disk drives also
enhance availability, with built-in multi-path I/O failover eliminating the need for custom software.
With Dell Compellent, you have the freedom to choose the technologies that support your IT
infrastructure today and readily adapt to change tomorrow – all without disruption. And you don’t have
to repurchase your base software license when you upgrade controllers to integrate new technologies.

That’s it! We hope you’ve enjoyed the series!

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This is the seventh of eight in a series titled 8 Must Haves for the IT Director

Number 7 – Intuitive, Unified User Interface

Managing conventional storage systems is complex and time-consuming. In fact, IT staff expenditures
often exceed the cost of the storage platform itself. Administrators need to monitor always-changing
capacity requirements, manually migrate data from tier to tier, configure backup sequences and more.
And in most cases, all these tasks must be performed using multiple, standalone user interfaces.

Dell Compellent storage is designed to help administrators manage more data in less time. This is
largely because of the built-in efficiency and intelligent automation of Dell Compellent storage. It is
also because Dell Compellent storage features an intuitive, point-and-click interface that provides a
complete view of the entire storage environment through a single pane of glass.

With Dell Compellent, there is no need for specialized skill sets or ongoing systems training. Wizards
guide users through system setup and application configuration, making even advanced operations
simple and straightforward. Since common, repetitive (and often time-consuming) tasks are fully
automated, users can focus on other important projects. Storage consumption and usage trends are
automatically monitored and displayed, eliminating the need for manual capacity planning. And a
unique Phone Home feature provides automated real-time alerts and notifications for remote
diagnostics and monitoring. Dell Compellent storage even generates executive summaries, cost-savings
calculations and utilization chargeback reports with just a few clicks.

Next up in our 8 Must Have series is #8, Scale On Demand, Open Platform.

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This is the sixth of eight in a series titled 8 Must Haves for the IT Director

Number 6 – Thin Replication

Never Over Provision Storage Again

Due to the high costs and complexity traditionally associated with off-site backup strategies, remote
replication continues to be a low priority for many organizations. That’s because replicating data
between locations typically requires identical site configurations and expensive, high-speed data links.
And even then replication can be slow and unreliable, especially when the process requires the transfer
of full-volume clones.

Dell Compellent Thin Replication™ technology, Remote Instant Replay, provides affordable, verifiable
and simplified multi-site data protection leveraging space-efficient Replays. Following initial site
synchronization, only incremental changes in data need to be replicated. This cuts hardware costs,
reduces bandwidth requirements and significantly expedites recovery. Dell Compellent storage can
maintain unlimited high number of Replays without affecting system performance, and the Replays can
easily be mapped to any server for near instant recovery to any point in time.

Since Dell Compellent storage intelligently transfers only changed blocks of data, bandwidth utilization
is optimized, reducing the need for high-speed connections. Built-in bandwidth simulation and shaping
further streamline the process. Transfer rates can be customized based on link speed, time of day and
replication priority.

Another advantage of Thin Replication is that it doesn’t require identical system configurations at each
site. That gives you the flexibility to choose lower-cost SAS or SATA drives for remote sites. To further
maximize efficiencies, Dell Compellent storage features a built-in Fibre Channel-to-iSCSI converter,
enabling administrators to replicate data natively over existing IP networks. Users can also expedite
initial replication synchronization using Portable Volume, secure enterprise-class external hard drives
preconfigured for use with Dell Compellent storage.

Next up in our 8 Must Have series is #7, Intuitive GUI.

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This is the fifth of eight in a series titled 8 Must Haves for the IT Director

Number 5 – Space-Efficient Snapshots

The hidden cost of snapshot space hogs

Using snapshots to protect array data is nothing new. What is new is how the aging (or tiered progression) algorithms associated with primary data can also be applied to snapshot data. There are 2 parts to snapshot efficiency; 1) minimizing the amount needed initially and 2) placing the older snapshots on lower tiered groups of disks.

Some storage architectures implement snapshots using large chunks, or pages, of data. These larger block approaches tend to overuse snapshot space by preserving data at a minimum of 15K chunks. Imagine a 15K snapshot for a single byte change. Compellent snapshots can be configured from 512 Byte blocks to 4K, drastically reducing the per change overhead.

Snapshot migration reduces costs

The second snapshot efficiency gained by the Compellent architecture is that, similar to primary data, snapshot data can also be progressively moved to lower speed, lower cost media as it ages. Snapshots for yesterday are generally more likely to be needed than snapshots from a previous month, especially for high-IO applications. Thus, it makes sense that the most recent snapshots are readily available on the fastest tier groups; a process handled automatically by Compellent.

Since Replays are so space efficient, recovery can take as few as 10 seconds and volumes can be
mapped to any server without disruption. To simplify the process, administrators set up Replay
schedules using an intuitive point-and-click interface. Replays can also be used to test new applications
and service packs on actual data without risk, efficiently support boot-from-SAN operations and
virtually eliminate backup windows on production systems.

Next up in our 8 Must Have series is #6, Thin Replication.

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Having dealt with capacity based licensing during most of my career, I was pleasantly surprised that Compellent puts a ceiling on it’s software costs based on the number of drives. Although a Compellent SC040 can scale from 6 to at least 1008 disk drives, the licensing cut off point is 96 drives.

To avoid charging customers for unneeded software, Compellent licenses the following:

1. Data Progression (Block based Automated Tiered Storage) – ILM
2. Data Instant Replay (Snap Shot)
3. Dynamic Capacity (Thin Provisioning) (Prerequisite)
4. Remote Instant Replay (Replication)
5. Replay Manager (Application Aware Snaps)
6. Fast Track (Tiering on the disk for higher performance)
7. Storage Center Core (prerequisite)

You could have all these features or some of them depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

A Base license = 16 active drives.

Expansion licenses are based on 8 drive increments to a maximum of 10 sets or a total of 96 drives including Base license.

So, once you hit the 96 drive number, you don’t buy anymore SW, just hardware and probably just 7K drives. Compellent say 7K drives make up 81% of their disk upgrades.

One caveat is that although you are not “charged” for software beyond 96 drives, there is the age-old complaint by customers that adding drives is not as simple as picking up the commodity devices. Compellent, nor any other large manufacturer, supports the customer going out and buying an off-the-shelf seagate drive to pop in the unit. The variables are many and the risks are too high for data corruption.

However, I do think the vendors should cut down on the exorbitant rates they charge for add-on hardware if they truly want to market “future proof” value.

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