Dell Lowers the Cost of All-Flash Arrays with TLC

By Pedro Hernandez

Dell is determined to keep pushing the price of flash storage down to levels that data center operators can no long ignore.

Earlier this year, the Round Rock, Texas-based server and storage systems provider announced it had begun shipping its $25,000 SC all-flash arrays, the first mid-range storage hardware of its type to hit that price point. And the tactic is paying off. Dell revealed that its SC Series all-flash and hybrid flash sales have grown 89 percent in the first quarter of 2015 on a year-over-year basis.

Today, the company announced another milestone in lowering the cost of fast, flash-based enterprise data storage.

On July 20, Dell said that it will be the first to offer read-intensive solid-state drives (SSDs) in capacities of up to 3.8 terabytes (TB) based on triple-level cell (TLC) 3D NAND technology. Combined with Storage Center 6.6 software and the company's Data Progression intelligent data placement technology, the company claims the SSDs can help SC Series arrays deliver 24 times the performance of storage systems using enterprise-grade 15K RPM hard disk drives (HDD) at roughly the same price per gigabyte (GB).

According to Dell's estimates, customers can now take home an SC4020 array with (TLC) 3D NAND SSDs for as low as $1.66 per GB in an all-flash configuration or 58 cents per gigabyte in hybrid SSD-HDD setup.

While Dell's reliance on read-intensive drives may give pause to organizations that also require solid write performance, the company has it covered, assured Travis Vigil, executive director of Product Management for Dell Storage, in a blog post.

"Dell is different because we can combine flash formats in the same array: Write-Intensive (WI) in Tier 1 for all application writes, and less-expensive Read-Intensive SSDs (now including TLC) in our read-intensive, 'write-managed' Tier 2," he explained. Essentially, the new SSDs are in it for the long haul, he asserted.

"Protected from heavy writes, TLC drives also last longer in Tier 2. Dell is so confident in this approach, we guarantee all SSD formats for life," continued Vigil. "As long as the array has a current service plan (ProSupport, or award-winning Copilot), we'll replace any drives that wear out irrespective of wear level or maximum rated life."

Dell's SC Series arrays with TLC 3D NAND SSDs are scheduled to start shipping in August 2015.

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

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on July 20, 2015