While many storage managers and administrators continue to be the primary drivers into storage area networks and finding the best fit for their storage networks, we are starting to see some security network administrators give their “2 cents” when it comes to selecting a storage area network, whether it’s a Dell EqualLogic or a Dell Compellent SAN. “Why?” you might ask…? Aside from sheer boredom, more storage arrays are now shipping with self-encrypting drives, sometimes called SED drives.

How are these different from your standard NL-SAS, SAS, and / or SSD drives I might already finding on EqualLogic pricing or Compellent pricing…? Well, they’re really not…but essentially these self-encrypting drives are being built with a circuit that comes embedded into the disk drive controller chip.

What this essentially does is encrypt and decrypt the data that is put onto the magnetic media without any human intervention. In fact, the SED drives come factory-default on many HDD and SSD drives.

There’s really a lot more detail that goes into the SED drives such as password creation, etc., but we’re not going to bore you with all the finite details here. What’s important to note is that SED drives are relevant in preventing data loss while performance is not impacted. So next time you seek EqualLogic pricing or Compellent pricing on a Dell storage solution, ask if the drives have SED…the price is a bit more, but it could be worth it…

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Let’s be real for a minute. Dell recognizes the fact that the storage market has become increasing competitive…particularly when it comes to flash-based solutions. Have you noticed that companies out there tend to offer either a hybrid-flash solution or an all-flash solution, but not both…? It’s because they can’t…but Dell Compellent can.

The Dell Compellent SC220 all-flash enclosure has:

  • Twenty-four (24) 2.5” drive bays or slots
  • Twelve (12) of these drive bays are populated with SSD drives (all flash drives)
  • Six (6) 400GB write-intensive SLC SSDs
  • Six (6) 1.6TB read-intensive MLC SSDs
  • Twelve remaining slots can be filled with six-packs of SLC and MLC SSDs

The Dell Compellent SC220 hybrid-flash enclosure has:

  • Twenty-four (24) 2.5” drive bays or slots
  • Twelve (12) of these drive bays are populated with SSD drives
  • Six (6) 400GB write-intensive SLC SSDs
  • Six (6) 1.6TB read-intensive MLC SSDs
  • Remaining twelve (12) drives can be a combination of SSDs and 1TB 7.2K RPM HDDs (rotating disks)

No doubt the SC220 hybrid-flash solution provides some great flexibility and scalability as it provides three (3) tiers of storage while:

  • Being configured to use one or more SC220 flash enclosures with both write- and read-intensive SSDs and HDDs
  • It can also expand capacity with SC220 enclosures
  • Add SC220 enclosures which can use 7.2K, 10K or 15K RPM drives
  • Add SC200 enclosures with large capacity drives
  • Add SC280 enclosures with 4TB 7.2K RPM drives

Talk about flexibility here, particularly with the Dell Compellent hybrid-flash solution(s). Finding Compellent pricing can reveal some good budgetary numbers, but it is recommended you go through a trusted Dell Compellent reseller to create a customized presentation based on your requirements.

Yup, Dell is back in the storage game with some powerful SSD / flash-based solutions…oh, yeah…

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The following article-blog (written by Alan Atkinson, GM—Dell | Compellent 6 Aug 2013 12:00 PM ) was given permission to us to share, citations are given at the end of this article:

“Storage Center 6.4 will allow us to fully leverage SSD technology and offer the best performing hosted Exchange service and cloud servers on the market, with the lowest possible latency.” (Jean Caron, Vice-President, Operations, at Sherweb)

The Dell storage portfolio takes a major step forward with the introduction of Storage Center 6.4. This release introduces record Dell Compellent performance and density, at a price point that can change the economics of your data center. These new capabilities have received incredibly positive responses from both our customers and the marketplace as a whole as seen when announced at the Dell Enterprise Forum back in June.

As I talk to customers, they’ve told me that they want greater performance and higher density – all at a lower price point. We listened and now have rolled out….

Flash-optimized solutions designed to improve performance for data-intensive applications and OLTP workloads, optimized with intelligent tiering to cost less than comparable 15K disk drive solutions! [1]

New SC280 dense enclosure, the densest solution of any major vendor in its class with 336TB in 5U. [2]

Storage Center 6.4, which optimizes performance for database & OLTP workloads, amplifies the power of Compellent tiering, and integrates management of block and file.  We’ve reworked our tiering logic to specifically address flash technology.

Today, we’re releasing our Flash-optimized solutions and our SC280 dense enclosure powered by Storage Center 6.4, which helps you manage your expanding storage needs while preserving your capital for sales, marketing and R&D. Storage Center 6.4 is the first storage solution in its class to tier sub-LUN data across traditional rotating drives, write-optimized SSDs and read-optimized SSDs. [3]

Compellent’s leading automated tiering with Data Progression has been enhanced and optimized for flash to provide built-in, extremely granular intelligence that automatically tiers data across multiple SSD types and optimizes performance all while protecting your data. This allows you to experience cost savings by migrating older files automatically down to lower-tier, less-expensive drives while writing and leaving frequently accessed data on faster, Tier 1 drives.

There is this perception that flash-optimized storage is more expensive than spinning disks. This is not the case anymore with the Dell Compellent Flash-optimized solutions that offer flash performance with up to 84% space reduction, up to 90% latency reduction and an approximate 56% pricing reduction compared to traditional spinning arrays. [4]

Flash-optimized solutions can be configured with all SSDs for an all-flash solution, or a combination of SSDs and spinning disk drives for a hybrid-flash solution depending on your data center requirements. Compellent’s Flash-optimized solutions and data progression increase system performance by 75% and can increase storage capacity while reducing solution costs compared to arrays with spinning media. [5]

Complementary to the Flash-optimized solution we are introducing the Compellent SC280 dense enclosure which offers the best rack unit density of any major storage solution. 84 4TB hard drives in a 5 rack unit (RU) space  allows for 67.2TB usable per rack unit, clearly maximizing floor space and creating an all-in-one fast write, bulk storage solution.  You can now have 2PB of storage along with 2 Compellent Storage Center systems in a 48U rack. The SC280 can be used in a solution that tiers data from high-performance, Flash-optimized solutions with SLC and MLC SSD all the way down to high-capacity, cost-optimized storage—all within a single Compellent array.

Are you utilizing flash solutions in your data center? Let us know how through your comments and be sure to stay connected with Dell Storage via Facebook and Twitter.

[1] June 2013 Dell internal list pricing analysis indicates that the Dell Compellent disk drive solution for 37.6 TBs of 15K drives is $440,600 and 42.4 TB of SSD using the Dell Compellent all-flash solution has a list price of $426,741.

[2] Based on February 2013 internal Dell analysis comparing SC280 to comparable 2U 3.5 disk drive enclosures

[3] Based on internal Dell analysis performed in May 2012, comparing similar Dell Compellent offerings to EMC VNX family, HP 3PAR  StoreServe, HP EVA, IBM v7000, IBM XIV, Hitachi Data Systems HUS 100 Family, and Oracle  SUN ZFS Storage family.

[4] Internal Dell analysis in July 2013 based on Dell Compellent flash-optimized and spinning disk US list pricing, technical specifications of flash-optimized vs. spinning disk arrays and an internal test performed by Dell in March 2013 with Storage Center v6.3.10 on dual SC8000 controllers running OLTP type workloads using IOmeter with a 100% random, 70/30 read/write mix and 8K

[5] Internal Dell analysis in July 2013 based on Dell Compellent flash-optimized and spinning disk US list pricing, technical specifications of flash-optimized vs.spinning disk arrays and an internal test performed by Dell in March 2013 with Storage Center v6.3.10 on dual SC8000 controllers running OLTP type workloads using IOmeter with a 100% random, 70/30 read/write mix and 8K sector transfer size achieved this IOPS performance. Assumption is SC 6.4 will have similar results. Actual performance/latency will vary based on configuration, usage and manufacturing variability.

About SherWeb Inc. – A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft 2013 and 2011 Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive email, collaboration, and backup solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately-owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Online Backup and more. For details, visit http://www.sherweb.com.

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You already have a powerful Dell Compellent SAN in place…and perhaps you even have the FluidFS solution of a Compellent FS8600 in place as well. So if you do, you’re going to be excited about what’s coming out later this month: FluidFS v3.

What does this mean…? Everything!

For one, get used to the following term: Fluid Data Reduction. What this will allow you to do is build policy-driven variable-block dedupe and LZPS compression. That’s right, dedupe and compression! Dell’s finally answered the call to its clients’ demands…and it gets better. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the more common updates and features with FluidFS v3:

  • Support for SMB 2.0, 2.1, and NFSv4
  • Improved Scalability with 10,000 active SMB sessions per appliance
  • Up to 2PB in a single namespace on the FS8600 (with two SC8000s)
  • Access-Based Enumeration to allow you to hide files and directors for which a user does not have access (pretty slick, eh…?)
  • 1GbE to 10GbE Upgrade Path for current 1GbE FluidFS customers
  • Thin Provisioning and Clones – thinly provisioned NAS volumes and RW thin clones of NAS volumes

Some other features include AD as LDAP, Secure LDAP, Full EM integration for FS8600, improved installation experience, and dedicated management port (LOM) for the FS8600.

Be sure to verify these features with any new Compellent pricing you get as some (very few, really) of these features might not be available for iSCSI.

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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 by Mike McGuire

Compellent Cost outweighed by Performance and Enterprise features for multi-PB Japanese deal

Dell has invested in advancing Compellent further into the enterprise. Compellent’s performance, combined with data and licensing efficiencies, helps us win new, larger customers by providing enterprise-class features and lower long-term costs. Coupled with the dramatic performance gains of Storage Center 6.3 we announced in November, customers can grow systems even larger. Dell Compellent customers can scale their systems from a few terabytes to a petabyte within a single system without forklift upgrades. Customers are noticing Compellent’s progress and are moving to a more flexible Fluid Data architecture for their large-scale storage needs.

Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology Selects Dell for a 3PB Installation

Dell today announced that we have sold one of the largest Compellent storage deployments to date. The arrays, being deployed by the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (or JAIST), have an initial capacity of three petabytes. As a couple of fun facts, that’s the equivalent of 60 million four-draw filing cabinets filed with text or nearly 40 years (or more than 21 million minutes) of high-definition video.

To support its students and faculty members across the country, JAIST decided to centralize its IT operations and improve performance with a private cloud infrastructure supported by Dell Compellent. Their previous systems were not giving them the fast data access and efficient back-up for large data sets that the university needed. The university wanted a virtualized storage infrastructure that would make information easier to access and allow room for growth, but any solution had to be powerful, affordable and easy to scale on demand.

The new infrastructure will provide high-performance and large capacity storage for its students and researchers working on various research projects. The new Dell infrastructure will enable JAIST to quickly access information and efficiently protect large amounts of important research data. And by centralizing hardware resources, JAIST can lower costs, improve energy efficiency and make management simpler.

Dell Compellent – Growth in the Enterprise

Did you know that since acquiring Compellent just two years ago, Dell has sold Dell Compellent technology in 95 countries (up from 25), has made it available in more than 100 and nearly tripled the R&D team? That’s tremendous growth. In the past year, Dell has moved Compellent to a 64-bit operating system and further enhancements available in February are expected to more than double the performance while running enterprise applications. The latest SAP certification for running SAP HANA as a pre-integrated system with Dell servers, storage and networking is further proof of how Dell Compellent supports enterprise applications and specialized workloads.

As Dell continues to add enterprise features to Compellent arrays, customers like JAIST will benefit from increased efficiency and functionality of the system. We all know that data storage needs will continue to grow and you’ll always need more storage.

How much data are you storing now?

How much data do you expect to be storing in a year?

Click here to compare different SAN pricing and/or SAN cost from multiple manufacturers.

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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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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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