Dell launches entry-level iSCSI arrays, software included

By Kevin Komiega

Dell added a new member to its EqualLogic family of iSCSI disk arrays, at a starting price of $10,000 with all of the software features found in its enterprise-class SAN arrays.

The new Dell EqualLogic PS4000 series features three models with various speeds and capacities.

The PS4000E supports 7,200rpm SATA disk drives in 250GB, 500GB or 1TB capacities for a maximum capacity of up to 16TB. The PS4000X features 10,000rpm 400/450/600GB SAS drives for up to 9.6TB of capacity. The high performance model, the PS4000XV, supports 15,000rpm SAS drives in 300GB or 450GB capacities for up to 7.2TB.

As part of Dell's all-inclusive software philosophy, each of the PS4000 arrays include snapshot, replication, thin provisioning, storage virtualization, automatic load balancing and additional data protection software features. The arrays also work with hypervisors, including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer.

The PS4000 arrays start at $10,000 and are available from Dell and its global PartnerDirect channel partners.

Travis Vigil, senior manager for Dell's EqualLogic product line, says data center optimization and virtualization projects are fueling the growth of iSCSI SANs.

"Given the economy, people are looking for ways to optimize and iSCSI has always had a low-cost value proposition and reduces operating expenses [compared to Fibre Channel]," says Vigil. "In addition, server virtualization is driving interest in iSCSI as customers are re-architecting their SANs to be optimized for virtualization."

Vigil says many of Dell's enterprise customers were interested in deploying EqualLogic SANs in branch office locations, but until recently the SANs were overkill for small deployments.

"Larger customers and some small customers do not need the full 12-node scalability of the PS6000. The PS4000 lets companies start smaller than they could before for things like virtual server deployments in remote offices," Vigil says.

Dell also upgraded its EqualLogic software across the PS Series. Additions to the software include Auto-Snapshot Manager/VMware Edition (ASM/VE) 2.0, a feature that backs up and restores VMware virtual machines and VMware Virtual Machine File Systems (VMFS); integration with the VMware vStorage initiative, including VMware Site Recovery Manager; and integration with Advanced Multi-Path I/O (MPIO) functionality found in VMware's vSphere 4.0 operating system.

Finally, Dell is now shipping a new Windows-based NAS system – the PowerVault NX3000 -- that carries a starting price of $3,100, can function as a NAS gateway into EqualLogic SAN environments, and includes data deduplication technology.

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This article was originally published on August 01, 2009