Dell Compellent SC4020 Array

Dell has announced a new storage array, the SC4020, and an aggressive plan to go after all-flash array vendors with an initial sales price under $100,000.

The SC4020 is a pint-size Compellent array. Everything Compellent arrays and Dell’s Fluid Data software can do has been put into the new unit’s 2U chassis. At that size there’s only room for 24 disks, but companion disk drawers can bulk things out to 120 drives and total raw capacity of 413TB.

2U is enough room for two controllers each sporting a quad-core XeonE3-1265L v2 running at 2.50GHz. Each controller also boasts four 8GB Fibre Channel ports while an iSCSI version is due soon.

The SC4020 is a unified storage device so you can treat it as a NAS or SAN depending on your requirements.

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Have you ever wanted to get ballpark pricing for enterprise storage for planning purposes? Now, StoragePricing.Org provides pricing articles and budgetary quote for compellent.

The SC8000 specifications:

Storage capacity: Up to 960 drives (3PB raw capacity) per dual-controller system; larger capacity available in clustered systems using Live Volume*
Memory: Up to 128GB total available cache per dual-controller system; larger cache capacity available in clustered systems using Live Volume*
2.5” drives: Up to 24 drives per SC220 expansion enclosure
3.5” drives: Up to 12 per SC200 expansion enclosure, 84 per SC280 expansion enclosure

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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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Jul 142013

Original article at

Dell optimized its Compellent SAN array for flash by modifying its Data Progression automated tiering features in the 6.4 version of Compellent Storage Center 6.4 array software. Primary storage dedupe and compression is part of the Dell Fluid File System (Fluid FS) 3 that runs on scale-out NAS appliances that give Compellent and Dell’s EqualLogic iSCSI SAN arrays unified storage capabilities.

Other major storage array vendors have already laid out their all-flash strategies, although some are not yet shipping their systems.

Unlike IBM, EMC and NetApp, Dell did not add a dedicated all-flash array. It takes the same approach as Hewlett-Packard and Hitachi Data Systems and makes all-flash an option in an existing platform.

Alan Atkinson, the Dell storage VP in charge of Compellent, said he expects more Compellent customers will use flash as a tier in rather than run 100% flash. He said the Storage Center software’s optimized tiering will allow customers to use SSDs to beat the performance of 15,000 RPM hard drives at a lower price.

Compellent uses single-level cell (SLC) and multi-level cell (MLC) solid-state drives (SSDs) in tandem. Each 24-drive 2U flash-optimized SC220 enclosure includes six 400 GB SLC drives and six 1.6 TB MLC drives. The other slots can be filled with MLC flash, SLC flash or 7,200 RPM SAS hard drives.

Compellent already supported solid-state drives as a tier in a hybrid array with hard drives, but Atkinson said that was far more expensive than using all hard drives. He said Compellent altered the frequency of its data tiering to take advantage of SLC and MLC SSDs to bring down the cost in the new version. Data writes go to the higher performing SLC drives while the less expensive MLC drives handle reads.

“We’ve built tiering into the enclosure itself, so all your writes go to the SLC drives,” he said. “What we’re showing is for a lot of workloads we’re cheaper than 15K drives. Instead of using 15K drives and tiering down to 7,200 RPM drives, you can buy enough flash for data intensive applications and tier down to 7,200 drives at the same cost or less. We think a huge amount of our customer base will stop buying 15K drives.”

It’s impossible to judge Compellent’s price claims now because no pricing will be available until the flash-enabled systems ship in the third quarter of the year.

Atkinson said Compellent flash won’t be anywhere near as cheap as the $3 per gigabyte that startup Skyera promises, but added that Compellent is a full enterprise array. He said Dell’s goal is to make flash the same price or lower than 15,000 RPM hard drives.

Storage analysts said Compellent is trying to use its strength – Data Progression automated tiering – to try to gain an edge in flash. Data Progression was considered a key feature for Compellent long before vendors sold SSDs in enterprise storage arrays.

“Compellent introduced auto-tiering to the world,” said Arun Taneja, consulting analyst for the Taneja Group. “Now they can fine-tune it to make use of the extra tiers.” He added that Compellent’s tiering between SLC and MLC SSDs is unique. “It’s the first use I’ve seen of tiering between the two types of flash,” he said.

Randy Kerns, senior strategist at the Evaluator Group, said Compellent’s tiering for flash “was easy for them to do because they support so many tiers already” but wondered if using the two types of flash will confuse customer when they are configuring their arrays. It said it might not be clear how much SLC versus MLC will be necessary.

Compellent also added a denser enclosure, the SC280, which holds 84 3.5-inch 4 TB drives for 336 TB of raw capacity in a 5U footprint.

Ocarina primary dedupe finally arrives

Dell customers have been waiting for primary data reduction since Dell acquired data reduction startup Ocarina in 2010. Dell put Ocarina technology in a disk backup target in 2012 but missed its 2011 target ship date for integrating dedupe and compression into primary storage.

Atkinson said FluidFS 3 supports policy-based dedupe and compression part of the base license. FluidFS 3 also supports SMB 2 and NFS 4 NAS protocols and 2 PB in a single namespace. Dell plans to make it available in the fourth quarter of this year, first on the Compellent FS8600 clustered NAS appliance and then on EqualLogic appliances before the end of the year.

“It’s good to see it,” Taneja said of Dell’s primary dedupe. “We’ve been waiting for Dell to do something with Ocarina for primary storage for two years now.”

Cody Bumgardner, chief technology architect at the University of Kentucky, said data reduction was among the upcoming features Dell laid out for him before he purchased Compellent storage two years ago. He said his shop doesn’t have a lot of duplicate data, but “the Ocarina compression will probably benefit us.”

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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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May 022012

Original article by Joseph Kovar at CRN

Dell (NSDQ:Dell) has made changes in how solution providers procure Compellent storage products for their customers which make it possible for partners to get ordering and discount information quicker and in many cases offer lower prices.

The changes to the Compellent ordering and configuration process stem from Dell’s move to standardize many of the processes and channel programs of its recent acquisitions.

Dell in February closed its $800 million-plus acquisition of storage virtualization vendor Compellent.

Since then, Dell has moved to integrate the technology and channel programs of its different storage technologies, including those of its EqualLogic, Compellent, Exanet, and Ocarina acquisitions.

Dell has simplified the process by which solution providers order Compellent products, get their discounts, and apply for special pricing, according to both Dell and its solution providers.

However, the actual impact of the changes in terms of pricing to customers is hard to quantify as various observers of the company and its channels look at it from different angles.

Financial analyst Raymond James wrote in a research report about a variety of major IT vendors that Dell has lowered the price of Compellent products to its channel partners by 30 percent due to improved supply chain efficiencies and volume purchases of hard drives compared to what the much smaller pre-acquisition Compellent was able to do.

As a result, solution providers are keeping larger margins for themselves compared to what they could keep before the acquisition, and are offering 10 percent or higher discounts to customers, Raymond James wrote.

One solution provider, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of discussing prices, said he has seen a downward price adjustment of about 30 percent to channel partners which will be reflected in prices to customers.

The adjustment is likely a result of price competition between Dell and EMC, former partners who last year parted ways as the two started pursuing independent storage strategies, the solution provider said.

“I expect it has a lot to do with the war between Dell and EMC at the SMB level,” the solution provider said. “EMC and Dell are at war.”

As a result of falling Compellent prices, the solution provider said, it is now possible to take Compellent technology into areas where lower-cost Dell EqualLogic products were previously more likely to be sold.

“Our Dell rep recently told us that for deals of up to $80,000, EqualLogic is better,” the solution provider said. “But with the new prices, I can get a bare bones Compellent down to $15,000. I could never do that before. In the past, with really small deals, there was not much Compellent discounting.”

Another solution provider who also preferred to remain unnamed because of the sensitivity of talking about Dell storage prices said that there could be a misconception about pricing discounts which are likely less than what others have noted.

That solution provider, who was a long-time Compellent partner, said that under the pre-acquisition Compellent system, partners would get a very specific price through the partner portal based on the configuration, and then have to negotiate further discounts.

“That was not a sustainable model,” the solution provider said. “Now we get our discounted price when we configure the system. So Dell is not really lowering the price. It is lowering the initial discounts so we don’t have to negotiate.”

As a result, the solution provider said, prices haven’t changed much.

“Instead, it’s the process to get our pricing which has changed,” the solution provider said. “On most deals for me, there’s no difference in price. With our experience with Compellent, we figured out over time where our discounts would be.”

A Compellent spokesperson said that the company, after it was acquired, standardized its pricing methodology to be closer to that of Dell (NSDQ:Dell)’s methodology, which may have resulted in simplified pricing and quicker configuration of the Compellent products.

Compellent also allowed for negotiations in the procurement process before the acquisition by Dell, but things have since been simplified to allow partners to focus more on the actual configuration of their customers’ storage, the spokesperson said.

Pre-acquisition Compellent partners had ultimate control of the configurations, which was a good thing but which also took a lot of time to handle, the spokesperson. Since the acquisition, Dell has simplified the process while maintaining the customization capabilities of partners. Dell has also simplified the pricing process while taking into consideration the level of the partner in the company’s partner program, the spokesperson said.

As a result, there may be some small changes in the prices to the customer, but not necessarily across the board, the spokesperson said.

Our take

The simplification of Compellent configuration and pricing has been a long time coming. The king of “complexity creates more money” is of course EMC, which has perfected the art of configuration confusion. Keeping the customer off balance and unsure about what is needed for a specific configuration always means there is room for “extras” that the unknowing customer ends up paying for.

Dell’s move to more standardized pricing is a welcome move toward transparency that should increase end user’s trust and decrease their costs.

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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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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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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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Federal Appliance is now certified Dell Compellent Partner and has assembled several Compellent turnkey bundles on our Self-Service Pricing portal. Just click on the Pricing button below to start the process and get your quote quickly, often in seconds. Once your quote has been sent we may follow-up via email to make sure you received it but no sales person will call you, we promise!

Compellent Self-Service Pricing

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