Dell Supports Fluid Data Architecture with Storage Releases

By Thor Olavsrud

Dell Wednesday moved to update its Fluid Data architecture with storage offerings ranging from software for Compellent storage arrays, a storage optimization solution for Microsoft SharePoint and increased support for storage networking solutions. The company also introduced an SMB-focused disk-to-disk backup solution with deduplication and compression.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) unveiled the new offerings Wednesday at its first Dell Storage Forum event in Europe.

Dell's Fluid Data architecture is an attempt to help organizations deal with ever-expanding volumes of data by intelligently storing data in the right place and at the right time.

"It's more than just individual storage pieces," said Bob Fine, director of product marketing, Dell Storage. "It's how these pieces come together to form a solution."

He added, "Customers need a much more dynamic and much more intelligent and fluid storage architecture to meet their needs."

Fine explained that the new components by Dell can all leverage the same core capabilities and can be tapped by a management layer that exists to manage the data intelligently.

The new Dell Compellent Storage Center 6.0 -- the first major release for the line since Dell acquired Compellent last year -- is the flagship release and includes new 64-bit support that Dell said doubles memory size to improve performance and scale. The new release features advanced tiering, thin provisioning and replication features, and Dell said its modular design allows data centers to upgrade firmware and deploy new product releases without having to rip-and-replace.

Dell also expanded the SAN's integration with VMware with new enhancements, including:

  • Dell Compellent VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration. Dell said this feature provides fully copy offload and hardware-assisted locking features that extend Compellent's existing support for block zeroing, speeding deployment of virtual machines by up to 40 percent.
  • Dell Compellent Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) for Site Recovery Manager 5. This feature is available for download with support for new SRM 5 features, including automated failback from a disaster and new work flows for planned migration and downtime.
  • Dell Compellent vSphere 5 Client Plug-In and Enterprise Manager-vSphere 5 Integration. Dell said this feature gives VMware software users the ability to efficiently manage Compellent virtualized pools of storage resources from either the VMware vSphere 5 or Compellent Enterprise Manager console, reducing administration time.

Dell also moved to bring deduplication and compression capabilities into the SMB environment with its new DR4000 Storage Platform, featuring technology acquired with Ocarina Networks last year. Dell said the DR4000 can help SMBs and remote offices decrease disk capacity requirements by up to 15 times and reduce backup storage costs to as low as $0.25 per gigabyte.

For SharePoint Infrastructure optimization, Dell is bringing together Dell DX storage, Dell Microsoft SharePoint assessment, design and deployment services and AvePoint DocAve software. Together, Dell said they deliver a comprehensive and integrated solution for SharePoint lifecycle management and migration.

The company also expanded support for Dell Force10, Dell PowerConnect and Brocade Storage Networking solutions with the intention of speeding storage deployment, increasing performance and simplifying administration.

"Dell continues to invest and focus on creating 'better together,' integrated offerings underpinned by core Dell intellectual property," said Simon Robinson, storage research director, 451 Research. "With these recent product introductions and enhancements, Dell continues to build on its vision of a Fluid Data architecture. This strategy fits well with the broader Dell portfolio, and also opens a significant opportunity to expand its footprint within its own existing customer base and in the wider storage market. Dell is well placed to move more aggressively both upstream and downstream."

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals.

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This article was originally published on January 11, 2012