Dell adds 4Gbps FC, 3.5-inch SAS

By Ann Silverthorn

—Dell introduced two new disk arrays this week, featuring support for 4Gbps Fibre Channel and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) disk drives. The Dell/EMC CX UltraScale series provides an end-to-end (host-to-disk) 4Gbps architecture, and the PowerVault MD1000 incorporates 3.5-inch SAS drives with higher capacity and performance than 2.5-inch SAS drives.

"We're meeting two distinct customer profiles," says Howard Shoobe, Dell's senior manager of entry marketing and NAS. "The Dell/EMC products are designed for storage-centric customers and the PowerVault is designed for server-centric customers."

The Dell/EMC CX UltraScale series includes the CX3-20, CX3-40, and CX3-80, which support both Fibre Channel and iSCSI host connections and are based on the arrays introduced by EMC on Monday (see "EMC debuts new architecture for Clariion"). The CX3-80 supports up to 480 drives, or 239TB, and up to 256 hosts. This line doubles the capacity and performance of the previous generation of CX arrays.

The arrays are among the first to support both 4Gbps Fibre Channel host connections and 4Gbps drive connections.

EMC's Navisphere Manager software suite is included in the CX UltraScale line and provides mirroring, snapshots, data movement technology, PowerPath software, and EMC's Visual SRM.

The Dell/EMC UltraScale CX storage arrays, which will be available later this month, will be priced from about $27,000.

Dell's second product introduction, the PowerVault MD1000, is a 3U direct-attached storage (DAS) enclosure with 3.5-inch SAS drives. Capacity ranges from 4.5TB to 13.5TB. The 3.5-inch drives are available in 36GB, 73GB, 146GB, and 300GB capacities. All but the 300GB drive feature the option of 15,000rpm rather than 10,000rpm.

SAS provides 4x the bandwidth of SCSI through the ability to aggregate four ports. Dell claims that the 3.5-inch drives typically provide a 30% increase in throughput and double the storage capacity of 2.5-inch drives.

The PowerVault MD1000 is based on the proposed Storage Bridge Bay (SBB) specification, which standardizes the mechanical and electrical interface for storage enclosures.

The PowerVault MD1000 is priced from $4,200.

This article was originally published on May 10, 2006