Dell Challenges Disk with All-Flash Compellent Storage Hardware

Posted on October 08, 2013 By Pedro Hernandez

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Dell envisions a flash-filled future for data center storage. To make it a reality sooner rather than later, the Round Rock, Texas-based IT heavyweight is attacking enterprise disk-based systems with new tiering capabilities.

The company is touting new Dell Compellent flash-optimized solutions that leverage new storage software and different types of solid-state drives (SSDs) to tilt the economic scales in favor of flash. The all-flash storage hardware "costs less than a comparable 15K disk drive solution," claimed the company in a statement.

All-flash systems take the price-performance crown from disk when organizations place "all hot data IOPS-hungry applications" -- Oracle, SAP,
SQL and VDI, for example -- on its new Compellent solutions, argues the company. Dell's approach allows its arrays to "process more transactions faster while lowering the overall costs to be comparable with traditional disk storage."

The secret lies in new automated data tiering capabilities within the company's Dell Compellent Storage Center 6.4 firmware. Tuned to optimize performance, Storage Center 6.4 intelligently moves data between hardy, high-performance SLC SSDs and lower-cost, capacity-rich MLC drives.

Dell Compellent "offers cost reductions up to 80 percent compared to all-flash arrays that don't similarly optimize for cost or performance," boasted the company. The tech delivers "up to an approximate 2x price advantage over hybrid-flash solutions and up to an approximate 5x price advantage over competitive all-flash solutions," according to Dell.

The Dell Compellent Flash-optimized Solutions portfolio is anchored by the SC8000 controller, the aforementioned Storage Center 6.4 firmware and SC220 enclosures. The SC8000 provides Fibre Channel, iSCSI and FCoE connectivity. Each SC220 enclosure supports 24 SAS (2.5-inch) drives. An all-flash solution includes six 400 GB SLC SSDs, six 1.6 TB MLC SSDs and a choice of SLC and MLC SSDs "six-packs" for the remaining slots.

And there's no need to banish hard disk drives (HDD) completely. The solution enables IT shops to take data tiering a step further to HDD-based storage. Even with spinning platters in the mix, organizations can reduce rack space by up to 84 percent, reduce latency by 90 percent and cut costs by 56 percent, compared to HDD storage, said Dell.

Dell also announced today that the company has started shipping its new Compellent SC280 dense enclosure, which "offers the best rack unit density of any major storage solution with up to 2.8 times more capacity than competing 2U 3.5” disk drive enclosures," claimed the company in a statement. The SC280 accommodates up to 336 TB of 7.2K SAS HDD storage in a 5U footprint.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.


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