Dell EqualLogic launches iSCSI array

By Dave Simpson

One week after finalizing its $1.4 billion acquisition of EqualLogic, Dell introduced the PS5000 series of iSCSI disk arrays and held a town meeting to assuage its channel partners regarding pricing and overlap between the channel and Dell’s direct sales force.

On the channel front, officials contend they will not favor either Dell’s direct sales force or EqualLogic’s channel partners. (EqualLogic has more than 500 channel partners.)

“We’ll establish equilibrium on the street price so there will be no difference between the direct sales price and the channel price,” says John Joseph, vice president of the Dell EqualLogic Storage division. “We’re not favoring either side. The direct sales force will be compensated on what gets sold in their geographic area.”

Existing EqualLogic partners are being enrolled in Dell’s PartnerDirect program and are eligible for the company’s newest partner certification program, dubbed Enterprise Architecture.

On the product front, the company unveiled the Dell EqualLogic PS5000 series of iSCSI arrays, adding a layer to Dell’s lineup of iSCSI systems. The hierarchy starts (in terms of price/capacity/performance) with Dell’s entry-level MD3000i, followed by the entry-level Dell EMC AX series, the Dell Equal-Logic PS series and, at the high end, the Dell EMC CX series. The AX and CX series support both iSCSI and Fibre Channel host connections.

The 16-bay PS5000 series is available in three models, which differ in capacity scalability, performance, and drive types:

  • The entry-level PS5000E can scale from 2TB to 16TB configured with 1TB 7,200rpm SATA drives;
  • The PS5000X is a 6.4TB subsystem with 10,000rpm SAS drives; and
  • The high-performance PS5000XV scales from 2.3TB to 4.8TB with 15,000rpm SAS drives.

Users can connect arrays for up to 192TB of capacity per virtual SAN configuration. Although users can mix-and-match SAS and SATA subsystems, they cannot mix drive types within the same enclosure.

Following the trend in iSCSI disk systems, the PS5000 comes bundled with a wide range of software, including virtualization, snapshots, volume creation, tiered storage, remote replication, thin provisioning, and RAID configuration software, all of which is pre-loaded.

In addition to differentiators relative to competitors, Dell EqualLogic officials stressed the end-to-end virtualization advantage that the EqualLogic arrays bring to Dell’s overall virtualization strategy.

Pricing for the PS5000 series starts at $19,000. Dell EqualLogic officials hope to capitalize on the fast-growing iSCSI market. In terms of unit shipments, International Data Corp. predicts this market will surge at a 140% annual growth rate over the next five years.

This article was originally published on March 01, 2008