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

Number 4 – Automated Tiered Storage

Dynamically Classify and Migrate Data

To continue containing costs throughout the lifecycle of enterprise data, Dell Compellent leverages an
innovative data movement engine that integrates intelligent tiering with advanced virtualization.
Traditionally, information lifecycle management has been a tedious and manual process with no end.
Data is continually classified and reclassified based on its “importance” to the organization, an
approach rife with political implications.

Politics aside, manually moving data between high-performance drives and more cost-effective,
capacity-oriented drives is complicated and time consuming. Add-on migration engines can help, but
increase overall software costs and waste valuable staff time for systems integration. Either way, each
volume must be moved in its entirety, although some of that data is probably more frequently
accessed. That means administrators have to continuously fine-tune data placement over time. Still,
the alternative – retaining all enterprise data on high-performance drives – is not only costly in terms of
disk expenditures, but wastes energy and squanders limited data center space.

With Dell Compellent, since data is actively, intelligently managed at the block level, manually moving
data between tiers is a thing of the past. Using unique Automated Tiered Storage software, known as
Data Progression, Dell Compellent dynamically classifies and migrates data to the optimum tier based
on actual usage. The “importance” of data becomes a matter of fact according to actual usage, and
data placement organically remains in tune with changing business needs.

Data is written to high-performance Solid State (SDD) or Fibre Channel (FC) drives on Tier 1 storage.
Then, as the frequency of access declines, the less active blocks of data migrate to FC or SAS drives on Tier 2 storage. Over time, completely inactive data moves to high-capacity SAS or SATA drives on Tier 3 storage. To further free up high-performance drives for mission-critical applications, snapshots
automatically flow to cost-effective, energy-saving drives. Meanwhile, the most active data is
dynamically placed on the outer tracks of each drive for increased performance. Since most enterprise
data is inactive, on average organizations can reduce disk expenditures by as much as 80 percent with
Automated Tiered Storage.

Regardless of the current tier, with Dell Compellent storage, enterprise data always remains readily
available. Even once-inactive data is promoted to a higher tier if it becomes regularly accessed again.
Administrators simply customize the tiering algorithm according to specific organizational needs, or use
default settings established based on current industry best practices.

Next up in our 8 Must Have series is #5, Space Efficient Snapshots.

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

Number 3 – Thin Provisioning

Dell Compellent significantly reduces the cost of storage by enabling you to purchase and manage
fewer disk drives now and in the future. With other storage systems, physical disk capacity is
preallocated when the volume is created. Administrators estimate how much capacity may be required
for a given application and allocate “extra” space to accommodate growth. If the volume created is
500 GB, all 500 GB are set aside for that application. No other applications can use any of the preallocated
disk space, and none of it can be reclaimed later if actual utilization doesn’t coincide with
staff estimates. In most cases, only a fraction of the pre-allocated capacity is ever actually used,
resulting in the accumulation of purchased but “stranded” storage.

Such inefficient disk utilization inflates capital expenditures, operating expenditures and, ultimately,
your total cost of ownership (TCO). Administrators are forced to buy more capacity than needed
upfront, when the price per GB is sure to fall. Over time, as capacity is consumed (or stranded), even
more capacity must be purchased, further expanding the data center footprint. And all of this storage
must be provisioned manually, a time-consuming process that often requires downtime. In the end,
regardless of how much data is truly stored, all of these disks require continuous power and cooling.

Dell Compellent Thin Provisioning software, called Dynamic Capacity™, completely separates allocation
from utilization, eliminating preallocated but unused capacity. Administrators can provision any size
virtual volume upfront yet only consume physical capacity when data is actually written to disk. That
means you purchase the data you need to store your data today, then continue saving by expanding the
system on demand, adding the right capacity at the right time as your business needs change. In most
cases, organizations can regain 40 to 60 percent of disk space that would have been lost to preallocation.
You can even reclaim capacity from volumes provisioned with legacy systems using Thin
Import.

Next up in our 8 Must Have series is #4, Automated Tiered Storage.

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

Number 2 – Storage Virtualization

The term “virtual storage” has about as many definitions as there are vendors that provide it. In it’s most basic form, Compellent Storage Virtualization means that logical disk volumes are not directly associated with physical disk devices. A single volume, for example, might be spread across many physical drive types and raid levels.

Here’s Compellent’s overview:

Dell Compellent virtualizes enterprise storage at the disk level, creating a dynamic pool of shared storage resources available to all servers. With read/write operations spread across all drives, multiple requests can be processed in parallel, boosting system performance. Dell Compellent Storage Virtualization allows users to create hundreds of volumes in seconds to support any virtual server platform and optimize the placement of virtual applications.

How to Increase Performance with Storage Virtualization

  • Create any size virtual volumes without allocating drives to specific servers or dealing with complicated capacity planning and performance tuning
  • Present network storage to servers simply as disk capacity, regardless of tier, RAID level or server connectivity
  • Automatically restripe data across all drives in the storage pool when adding disk capacity
  • Dynamically scale the storage pool and implement system upgrades without disruption
  • Use virtual ports to increase port capacity, disk bandwidth, I/O connectivity and port failover

While these are certainly all important bullets, I’d like to add my own from a “benefit” perspective. For an IT administrator, Compellent Storage Virtualization:

  • Eliminates “hot spots” because individual drives are not target for specific apps
  • Improves performance by utilizing all spindles available; gets faster as it gets larger.

Next up in our 8 Must Have series is #3, Thin Provisioning.

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