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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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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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.

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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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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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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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CEO Phil Soran, co-founder and CEO of storage company Compellent, said in a keynote during the London-based Dell Storage Forum that he will be stepping down from his position on March 31. Soran founded Compellent in his basement with Larry Aszmann and John Guider.

“The announcement was made at Dell’s Storage Forum in London today. Soran stayed on for a year after the acquisition by Dell to bed the acquisition down, and he feels things are now in good shape. Co-founders Larry Aszmann and John Guider left quite quickly after the acquisition.”

The deal can be considered a success. Dell already managed to adopt the Fluid Data migration technology in its storage unit. The latest testimony of that is Site Recovery Manager v6, the latest version of Dell’s storage software announced today that runs on Compellent’s concept. Soran agreed with that, and noted in an interview that if he had the choice he would not take the company he helped build in a different direction.

Compellent was founded in March 2002, two years after Xiotech– the three partners’ first storage venture, also conceived in Soran’s basement – was acquired by Seagate.

Compellent has helped shape Dell’s storage business in a very profound way, contributing a great deal to the company’s decision to start focusing on its own products. One key indicator of this decision is a statement that the hardware maker does not plan on renewing its partnership with EMC, which as a part of the agreement provided Dell with its storage solutions to resell.

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