Archives For Dell

This morning was the first customer facing keynote and we saw a number of announcements.

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Darren Thomas VP and GM for Dell Storage presented on talking about Dell’s journey, key business values, goals and new product announcements. 

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For Dell Compellent we saw the announcement of Storage Center 6.3 offering boosts in performance up to 100% just through a software update! They also announced they would be the first array with 16Gb FC end to end support. These features come with a number of improvements and enhancements that have came since the first 64bit version of Storage Center 6.0 that was announced during the Storage Forum in London earlier in the year.

Bob Fine expanded on the announcement during the press and bloggers session going on to explain how the updates would be available for free to customers with existing support, without having downtime or rip and replace. How many other vendors are able to offer these kind of enhancements within the same units with just a software update? 

The Compellent solution is expanding and growing into Dells greater fluid vision with the FS8600 NAS. One of my key goals for the next 12 months is to come a lot more familiar with Compellent. To be it sounds a really exciting technology and I look forward to learning more about 6.3. 

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For the MD and Data Protection lines we saw version 3 of the firmware introduced offering iSCSI based replication, thin provisioning, VMware VAAI support and SSD based caching. With all these features within the MD range it is making it much more than a my first SAN solution offering many of the key features and more of its competing products and even able to start punching against its weight at a cheaper price point. 

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We also saw a wealth of releases from the data proaction product line with the AppAssure DL4000 backup appliance, the CommVault DL2300 and Quest NetVault Backup 9.0. I am a little confused as it stands where the place is within Dell for so many backup products. We will see how that matures and the different divisions start working together. Certainly from what I have seen from the user interface of the Quest NetVault Backup 9.0 product looks very nice and easy to use but I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings. 

There weren’t any announcements regarding the EqualLogic range but Pete Korce talked about the intention of looking at how EqualLogic could be utilised within the host with JBODs. For me this is really excited particularly for VDI workloads utilising SSDs or for branch offices. I look forward to learning more about this throughout the conference and as it is further developed. 

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I am looking forward to attending the rest of the conference now, sitting some hands on labs and learning about some of the new technologies and announcements. 

Today I have taken part in the Dell Storage Fluid Forward Think Tank, quite a mouth full! This gave me and a number of others (Partners, Customers and Dell Employees) to a chance to discuss the storage and IT industry in detail and understand the challenges we are facing and help define where we think it is going. 

I was joined by (from the Dell site – http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/direct2dell/b/direct2dell/archive/2012/11/01/fluid-forward-think-tank-let-s-talk-storage.aspx)

and the session was moderated and kept moving by Simon Robinson – Research Vice President at 451 Research. I

It was a really interesting session for me to hear everyones opinions, problems they are facing be it technical or political within their organisations. We covered everything from SSD, hybrid storage, tiering, local storage, de-duplication, protocols, Dell strategy and more. 

We also had an artist on hand graphically illustrating our conversation!

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The discussion was fed live online and is also available for you too watch or at least flick through here >> new.livestream.com/accounts/201054/storage

I also took a number of photos which can be found on my Flickr page here >> http://www.flickr.com/photos/74107311@N05/

But here are a few from the day. 

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This evening is a partner reception and #storagebeers, I will be attending a partner meal but may make it to #storagebeers a bit later. 

Today I traveled to Paris for the Dell Storage Forum, after a very early flight I had a chance to wander around Paris before the Partner reception. I headed towards Notre Dame then to be honest I don’t know where I ended up so if you recognise a location in one of my photos please comment and help me fill in where I have been :D.

All my photos throughout the event can be found here >> http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCPTHfu

This evening was spent at the partners reception chatting to the other bloggers and the Dell Social Media team, tomorrow we will be taking part in the Fluid Forward Think Tank for more information or to find out how to join in check out this article >> http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/direct2dell/b/direct2dell/archive/2012/11/01/fluid-forward-think-tank-let-s-talk-storage.aspx

Keep checking back I will be blogging all week from the event regarding whats going on and any announcements. 

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Next week I shall be attending the Dell Storage Forum taking place at the Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center, Paris. This is the 2nd Storage Forum to take place in Europe after the London event in January.

Marriott Rive Gauche Exterior

For those who haven’t been to a storage forum before it offers Dells customers and Partners the chance to meet the Dell Storage Execs, hear about the product line and strategy, attend technical sessions to learn to get the most out of your environment and finally sit hands on labs for the Dell storage range.

If you will be attending the storage forum make sure you say hi, the storage forum offers a great opportunity to meet other users from across different industries, make contacts and discuss your use and love of the technology.  

Full details regarding the event can be found on the Dell Storage Forum website here >> http://www.dellstorageforum.com/?elqPURLPage=317

Also if you are in Paris on Wednesday or attending the forum be sure to join us for Storage Beers taking place just a short walk away from the conference at Havane Café  (Boulevard Auguste Blanqui, 75013 Paris, France)

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I look forward to meeting you there and for those of you who wont be able to attend I will be blogging and taking lots of photos throughout the conference.

Dell have recently released their latest VMware integration tools for EqualLogic, as usual in the first instance these tools are for early production access so unless you are happy being cutting edge I would wait for them to move from EPA before installing in production environments.

I haven’t had a chance to install this release just yet but from the release notes you will see the following changes

1. New name for the virtual appliance as it contains more than just HIT/VE it will now be referred to as VSM/VMware standing for virtual storage manager
2. The new VSM contains the MEM multipathing module and the SRM storage adapter as with as the host Integration tools
3. Finally we get support for managing multiple Equallogic groups, and this has been a problem for a number of my customers
4. The ability to manage replication from directly from VSM
5. Support for the recently released version 6 firmware

There are a number of updates which can be seen in the screen shot below. Keep an eye on my blog as over the coming weeks I will be working on a video covering this and version 6 of the firmware.

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Dell Acquires AppAssure

February 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

Friday Dell announced that they were to acquire backup vendor AppAssure, more information for the Acquasition can be found here >> http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/direct2dell/b/direct2dell/archive/2012/02/24/dell-acquires-appassure.aspx

AppAssure

In the announcement above Dell gave some clues to their intentions for AppAssure with tight integration with the Dell storage portfolio to further assist with the fluid data vision.

Dell will extend the benefit of AppAssure across our enterprise solutions and services portfolio. Initially, it will be a software-only solution, and then over time we will offer additional data protection solutions tightly integrated in our Fluid Data architecture as we’ve done with our other acquired IP, including EqualLogic, Compellent and the Fluid File System. Customers will be able to manage data end-to-end, not in silos of servers and storage, or islands of sites.

Other than a base understanding of the AppAssure product I haven’t got any previous experience with using the product so I will leave those thoughts for another day, but you can see why Dell would want to have a backup product in the fold, the likes of HP, EMC and NetApp are all able to offer a backup product with their storage solutions and quite commonly I am asked what is the best way to backup VM’s from a replica or snapshot which isn’t easily done without a third party product at present.

However Dell have always been pretty good with their relationship with backup vendors particularly Symantec and increasingly Commvault, personally if it was Commvault that had been acquired I wouldn’t have been surprised at all.

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My personal hope is that with the acquisition of AppAssure it doesn’t cause Dell to put their guard up against other backup vendors on the market, as a hardware vendor I believe it is important for them to be able to maintain the flexibility to allow end users to use their choice of backup products. I look forward into seeing how AppAssure is integrated into the storage family and also personally learning what AppAssure has to offer.

Dell have recently announced the latest versions of their SANs the PS4100 and PS6100 Series.

These are the first Equallogic’s that Dell have completely manufactured in house. The previous models although running Dell controllers and firmware were manufactured by Xyratex. The new models utilise both 2.5” and 3.5” disks with the emphasis being on the 2.5” disks.

The new controllers also have some new technology such as vertical port failover previously their was only controller failover rather than per port failover. Gone is the battery write back cache and in with the new backup to flash, meaning you no longer have a limited time to repower your device before the contents of the cache is lost.

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There are now 4 models in the PS4100 range

Model Disks Type Disk Quantity Size U’s
PS4100E 3.5” 7.5K Near Line SAS 12 2
PS4100X 2.5” 10K SAS 24 2
PS4100XV 2.5” 15K SAS 24 2
PS4100XV 3.5” 15K SAS 12 2

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There are 6 models in the PS6100 range

Model Disks Type Disk Quantity Size U’s
PS6100E 3.5” 7.5K Near Line SAS 24 4
PS6100X 2.5” 10K SAS 24 2
PS6100XV 2.5” 15K SAS 24 2
PS6100S 2.5” SSD 24 2
PS6100XS 2.5” SSD + 10K SAS 17 SSD, 7 SAS 2
PS6100XV 3.5” 15K SAS 24 4
 
Conclusions
From what I have seen I see this as a good evolutionary step for Dell’s acquisition of Equallogic, the use of 2.5” disks across the new range has meant increased spindle count with less space requirements in your racks. Also as a nice to have all new SANs will now use Dell’s Rapid Rails, some of the previous Equallogic rails have been questionable but have got a lot better recently. I am particularly pleased to see the enhancements to the hybrid unit, the previous XVS had only 8 SSD’s and 8 15K SAS drives, meaning you were severely limited with capacity, with the new 24 disk model we are seeing a lot better use of a smaller amount of SSD’s with a larger amount of 10K SAS to give the increased capacity. Also the evolutionary steps for the controllers introduce some nice new availability features with the vertical port failover and the flash backed cache.
 
For more information head over to http://www.equallogic.com for more information about the latest range of SANS.