Dell has announced new Dell EqualLogic storage solutions and supporting software to help customers address the data management requirements of increasingly dynamic, virtualised data centers, as well as details of new integration across its storage portfolio with the forthcoming VMware vSphere 5 virtualisation and cloud infrastructure platform.
The announcements represent another milestone in the continued evolution of Dell Fluid Data solutions, designed to help customers more effectively manage valuable business information in virtualised data centers.
“Organisations of all sizes continue to place a priority on boosting IT asset efficiency while improving IT responsiveness to business pressures. Ever greater exploitation of virtualisation is a key element in these efforts, and the deployment of flexible and intelligent storage systems is frequently the key to successful efforts,” said Richard Villars, vice president of storage and IT Strategies at IDC. “Dell’s continued investment in advanced yet cost effective storage solutions along with a continued expansion of its enterprise service and solutions organisation, puts the company in a strong position to help IT organisations get the most from their data centers, today, and in the future.”
New Dell EqualLogic Storage Platform Extends Fluid Data Architecture
In support of customers’ growing storage demands, Dell introduced the EqualLogic PS6100 and PS4100 family of virtualised, IP-based storage offerings (iSCSI). Together with new Dell EqualLogic firmware version 5.1, Dell offers customers its next generation of EqualLogic storage solutions that seamlessly integrate into existing environments without downtime or a major overhaul. This helps customers to focus on managing their storage and not the manual process of upgrading infrastructure.
This launch marks the introduction of 2.5-inch drive support for the EqualLogic product line, providing greater density that enables users to store more in less space. Additionally, customers can gain up to 60 percent performance improvement on typical workloads with the EqualLogic PS Series compared to the previous generation EqualLogic arrays.
EqualLogic PS Series arrays, regardless of generation, work together to automatically manage data, load balance across all resources, and expand to meet growing storage needs. Dell provides these capabilities without requiring customers to “rip and replace” their storage environment during each upgrade cycle as they would with other vendors. New storage arrays include:
- EqualLogic PS4100 Series — ideal for small-to-medium businesses or remote office locations with growing storage needs. The SANs, supporting up to 36TB in a single array and 72TB in a single group, can scale as storage demands increase by seamlessly adding additional PS4100 or PS6100 arrays into an EqualLogic group.
- EqualLogic PS6100 Series — designed to provide mid-sized customers with a scalable storage environment, up to 72TB in a single array and 1.2PB in a single group, that can easily accommodate both high-performance and high-capacity drive options. The PS6100 family is ideal for customers looking for a storage solution to support the storage demands of a highly virtualised data center environment where the seamless movement and protection of virtual machines, applications and data is crucial.
With the newly redesigned, compact form factor, PS6100 customers can achieve the same performance for their typical workload using half the number of arrays, and receive 50 percent more expansion capacity when compared with the previous generation EqualLogic arrays.
Dell also has begun shipping the new EqualLogic FS7500, the company’s latest NAS solution that works with EqualLogic PS Series arrays to deliver the only scale-out, unified storage platform for mid-size deployments. The FS7500 uses the Dell Scalable File System, which offers several advanced features including cache monitoring, load balancing and multi-threading for fast I/O processing.
Dell and VMware Partner for Industry-Leading Integrated Solutions
Dell and VMware have expanded their strategic partnership over the past decade, collaborating on engineering integration and solutions development since server virtualisation first emerged. As customers’ virtual environments have grown, Dell and VMware have worked together to develop specifications for storage infrastructures, such as the VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration, and have delivered highly virtualised data center and storage solutions to meet joint customer needs.
For example, the latest EqualLogic firmware version 5.1 includes thin provisioning awareness for VMware vSphere to help users save valuable recovery time and help mitigate the risk of potential data loss. Dell is one of VMware’s largest global resellers, helping enable the company to uniquely address customers’ virtualised storage needs.
In support of the forthcoming VMware vSphere 5, Dell today introduced a new set of VMware specific enhancements for Dell EqualLogic, Dell Compellent and Dell PowerVault storage customers. These will roll-out through Q3 and Q4 and include:
- Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for VMware 3.1 — provide customers with enhanced storage visibility and datastore management as well as improved performance and availability through tight integration with VMware vSphere 5, VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Storage Awareness, VMware Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (SDRS), and VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.
- Dell Compellent Storage Replication Adapter for VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5 — supports automated failback from a disaster event and new workflows for planned migrations and downtime. Dell also is updating its Compellent plug-in support for VMware vSphere 5 to help customers more easily link their Compellent storage environment with virtualised resources.
- Dell PowerVault Integration with VMware vSphere 5 — adds certification and enables customers to manage multiple PowerVault MD3200/MD3600 series of storage arrays from a single VMware vCenter Server instance using the vCenter Plugin for Dell PowerVault MD. The Dell PowerVault MD storage arrays (iSCSI and Fibre Channel) also support VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Storage Awareness. The PowerVault MD3600f/MD3620f series of storage arrays support VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 4.1 and 5 using the Dell PowerVault Storage Replication Adapter (SRA).
New Software Enhancements Deliver Enterprise Storage Sophistication with SMB Simplicity
Dell today introduced additional capabilities to help customers gain insight into their storage environment and also better integrate with Microsoft virtualisation offerings. Offering integrated, all-inclusive software, the EqualLogic platform retains its ease of management as the system scales. New solutions that bring enterprise-class functionality to smaller implementations include:
- Dell EqualLogic SAN Headquarters 2.2 software — includes new multi-site support so customers can easily monitor the health and activity of their storage environment across different geographies. The solution provides ongoing, real-time diagnostic information to enable customers to optimise and tune their system for performance and efficiency.
- Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for Microsoft 4.0 — re-designed to enhance the usability experience with new features including centralised data protection and more efficient management of multiple Microsoft hosts and virtual machines. Enhanced Clustered Shared Volume (CSV) support has been designed to streamline data protection for CSVs and improve capacity utilisation.
“The new EqualLogic capabilities mark a significant next step in the evolution of the Dell Fluid Data architecture and extend Dell’s leadership in virtualised IP-based storage solutions that are easy to manage,” said Kobus de Beer, Dell South Africa, enterprise brand manager. “The new storage arrays and virtualisation tools can help our customers run highly optimised and efficient data centers by automating configuration and improving performance without forcing forklift upgrades.”
“VMware and Dell have proven time and time again that the integration of storage infrastructures and virtual environments can have a dramatic impact on a customer’s ability to increase flexibility while streamlining IT management,” said Narayan Venkat, vice president, product management, storage, VMware. “Our joint engineering efforts to integrate Dell storage solutions with the VMware platform continue to help customers grow their environments, meet business needs, and more efficiently manage business requirements without adding complexity or cost.”
- Dell EqualLogic PS4100 and PS6100 Series and EqualLogic FS7500 are available from August 22.
- Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for VMware 3.1, Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for Microsoft 4.0, and SAN Headquarters 2.2 software are in beta now and planned for release this year. These applications and tools are available at no additional charge for EqualLogic customers with valid support contracts.
- PowerVault software enhancements are planned for a September 2011 release, at no additional charge for existing customers.