Dell ships 10GbE EqualLogic arrays, networking gear

By Kevin Komiega

-- Dell continues to beat the drum for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) as the underlying fabric for next generation data centers with today's debut of 10GbE networking products, a pair of new EqualLogic disk arrays, and infrastructure management software.

As part of the roll out, Dell introduced 10GbE controllers for its EqualLogic PS6000 series storage arrays. Travis Vigil, senior manager for Dell's EqualLogic product line, says the PS6010 and PS6510 with 10GbE provide up to 10X the bandwidth per port and up to 2.5X more bandwidth per array than previous EqualLogic iSCSI systems.

Dell also announced the PS6500X and version 4.2 of the EqualLogic firmware that, when used together, boost the capacity of the EqualLogic PS series. Storage groups containing the EqualLogic PS6500X with 10,000rpm SAS drives can now scale to more than 460TB of capacity per group, up from 115.2TB. 

The upgrades allow users to grow an EqualLogic architecture to 768TB per group with the PS6500E. 

10GbE switches, CNAs

The Dell PowerConnect 8024F, the company's first 1U 10GbE top-of-rack switch, features 24 ports with SFP+ and 4 combo 10GBase-T ports with wire-speed 10Gbps across all ports. The switch is designed for converged Ethernet networks and supports virtualization deployments, iSCSI storage, and 10Gbps traffic aggregation. 

Along with the PowerConnect 8024F, Dell is about to ship its first converged network adapters (CNAs) for PowerEdge servers based on technology from QLogic. The servers are available with QLogic's FCoE-based 8100 series of CNAs

The dual-port CNAs facilitate server connectivity to Fibre Channel SANs through a 10Gbps Enhanced Ethernet fabric using Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). QLogic's QLE8152 CNAs can be configured with the PowerEdge R410/510/610/710 and T610/710 servers, and the QME8142 mezzanine adapters can be used in the PowerEdge M600/605/610/710/805/905/910 blade servers.

In addition, Dell is preparing to ship a line of networking products through its recently expanded partnership with Brocade. The new Dell products include Brocade's RX, DCX and 8000 networking products.

Infrastructure management software

Dell is tying its hardware products together with the Dell Advanced Infrastructure Manager, a software tool designed to give server managers more control in the data center. The tools lets administrators change server software stacks, network connectivity and storage access without making changes to SAN and LAN configurations.

Vigil says Infrastructure Manager is heterogeneous in that it works with legacy software and hardware and supports virtual server hypervisor technology from VMware and Microsoft.

10GbE strategy

Dell claims customers that standardize on 10GbE architectures can lower networking acquisition costs by approximately 50% and reduce network management costs by as much as 76%. Vigil refers to today's product launches collectively as Dell's "end-to-end 10GbE announcement."

It is safe to say Dell has a stake in Ethernet as the company has grown its share of the iSCSI SAN market to approximately 33% since the acquisition of EqualLogic in 2007, according to Vigil. However, Dell is not dismissing the importance of legacy Fibre Channel storage.

"Dell has a large installed base of Fibre Channel customers through our Dell/EMC portfolio. Our new switches and CNAs support Fibre Channel connectivity through FCoE and Data Center Bridging [DCB] over 10GbE," says Vigil.

Dell's Advanced Infrastructure Manager is available immediately in the US. The EqualLogic PS6500X is also available now, while the PS6010/PS6510 10GbE arrays are expected to be available on December 15, 2009 and January 15, 2010, respectively.

The Dell PowerConnect 8024F is available now, with availability of the QLogic 10GbE CNA and CNA mezzanine cards for PowerEdge servers slated for next week.

Finally, the PowerConnect-B MLX, RX, DCX and 8000 series of networking products is expected to be available in February 2010.

Related articles:
Dell taps Brocade for FCoE, CEE gear
Dell launches entry-level iSCSI arrays
Dell overhauls iSCSI SANs, adds SSDs

This article was originally published on December 10, 2009