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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You’re probably already familiar with Compellent’s modular architecture so I won’t bore you with pieces and parts of hardware. Suffice it to say you can build limitless Compellent configurations, but we’ve bundled a few basic ones here combining the SC040 controllers, disk enclosures and disk options. What’s key is the introduction of a super fast SAS back plane at the core of Storage Center 5.4.

Here’s The Storage Center 5.4 Highlights:

  • 6 Gb SAS drives provide twice the performance and use nearly half the power of 3 Gb SAS drives
  • 2.5″ SAS drives are two-thirds smaller than 3.5″ drives, resulting in a significant performance boost with a smaller footprint
  • 6 Gb SAS enclosures provide 24 bays to accommodate twice the number of spindles in the same amount of rackspace
  • Series 40 controller features more memory, six PCI-e slots and a battery-less cache, and provides 25% higher I/O performance
  • 10 Gb iSCSI and FCoE I/O cards and HBAs provide the latest industry-standard interconnect performance
  • Live Volume acts as a storage hypervisor, actively mapping one storage volume to two Dell Compellent arrays at the same time

I’d be curious to hear from Legacy customers that are running the new gear in parallel, or, if you’ve replaced older gear, how was the transition?

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This is an excerpt describing Dell Compellent’s move from older PCI-X to PCI-E and its impact on customers. This was a response to a customer’s concern about having to upgrade their Compellent gear. Although Compellent has a good story on minimizing “forklift” upgrades, there comes a point when technology must be refreshed. Does anyone out there still use 5.25″ floppies?

Comment by Bob Fine, Dell Compellent Marketing:

“Full disclosure – I work for Dell Compellent. I manage the Compellent product marketing team. There are two macro level transitions here – the industry wide transition away from PCI-X to PCI-e and the transition from SATA to SAS.

We do offer a variety of ways for our customers to avoid forklift upgrades as much as possible. In the case of SATA technology, the industry has shifted away from SATA to SAS. This isn’t a Compellent decision, but across the entire drive industry. Compellent delayed the end of life long past when drive shipments ended. We still provide Copilot support for SATA, although the drives and enclosures are no longer available for upgrades or new orders.

For many of our customers, they can use a PCI-e SAS card in their existing controller and leverage this new drive technology and avoid a forklift upgrade that some vendors require. Unfortunately our older controllers only have PCI-X interfaces, and PCI-X SAS interface cards are not available from our vendors as part of the industry transition away from PCI-X.

A key Compellent advantage is that by moving to the latest controller will allow use of all your existing Fibre channel enclosures and drives along with SAS, something that most competitors do not support.

I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss this further offline from the blog.

- Bob Fine”

Our take: Having been involved with hundreds of enterprise storage projects over 20+ years there is one truism in data storage. Every piece of storage hardware will eventually need to be replaced, so plan on a periodic refresh. I once worked on a Fed Gov project that had a 70-year data retention policy. Although extreme, the requirement forced us to build into our design the ability to migrate forward (i.e. refresh) data from older media to newer. That meant we could not tie our applications to a specific locations and/or mount points. Locations are best kept in a database that can be revised over time.

I appreciate Bob’s response and it is obviously a sincere effort to explain the need for a refresh. The only problem I have is when a marketing team with no real applicable technology experience makes claims it cannot back up.

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