Dell EqualLogic storage refresh includes all-flash array

Dell EqualLogic storage gets its first all-flash array, as well as a hybrid array and four new spinning disk versions of the iSCSI platform.

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Dell today launched its newest generation EqualLogic array, including an all-flash model as part of a refresh of the entire iSCSI SAN platform.

The PS6210S all-flash array is one of six models in the EqualLogic PS6210 series. The new family also includes the PS6210XS hybrid array, mixing SSDs and spinning disk, as well as major updates to the Dell Fluid File System (FluidFS) including data reduction for EqualLogic network-attached storage (NAS).

The all-flash PS6210S scales to 19.2 TB of raw SSD capacity per array. It can hold 24 400 GB and 800 GB mixed-use single-level cell (SLC) drives from SanDisk.

The PS6210XS mixes up to seven 800 GB SSDs and 17 1.2 TB 10,000 rpm SAS drives for a maximum of 26 TB per array. Dell plans to make 400 GB SSD and 600 GB SAS drives available in early 2014 on the hybrid array.

The other new arrays are the PS6210E, PS6210X, PS6210XV and PS6210XV 3.5". The PS6210E is the highest-capacity model, scaling to 96 TB in one array with 4 TB nearline SAS 7,200 rpm drives. It also supports 2 TB and 3 TB drives. The PS6210X supports 600 GB, 900 GB and 1.2 TB 10,000 rpm SAS drives for up to 28.8 TB per array. The PS6210XV includes up to 24 300 GB 15,000 RPM SAS drives for up to 7.2 TB, and the PS6210XV 3.5" scales to 14.4 TB with 24 600 GB 15,000 rpm drives.

The dual-controller systems have 16 GB nonvolatile memory per controller.

While Dell offered SSDs in previous EqualLogic all-flash and hybrid storage arrays, the PS6210 and version 7 array software were redesigned specifically to better take advantage of flash in the systems. The new systems have a different controller, and the operating system software has been optimized to spread reads and writes for more efficient performance on flash.

The PS6210 controller uses Broadcom's XLP processors, and it has been upgraded from DDR2 memory to DDR3 memory.

The EqualLogic flash system runs SanDisk Lightning Mixed-Use 6 Gbps SAS SSDs, which are designed for applications with a 70/30 mix of reads to writes. Target applications include online transaction processing, databases, virtual desktop infrastructure systems and virtual servers.

Travis Vigil, executive director of EqualLogic product management, said the new systems support mixed-use SLC drives that are used more efficiently because of the redesigned controller and software. As a result, the cost of using SLC in the new systems is about $8 per GB compared to the industry average of  $25 per GB to $30 per GB. SLC flash generally costs more than multi-level cell (MLC) flash.

"You get flash performance at the price of disk," he said of the new flash and hybrid arrays.

Dell also enhanced its EqualLogic Array Software 7.0 with 64-bit kernel technology and new access control policies for server virtualization and clustered servers.

"Before, administrators would have to set access control policies on each array and volume," Vigil said. "Now, administrators can set up a policy template so they don't need to go to every array to set it up."

The Array Software 7.0 also supports 4 TB drives and the FluidFS version 3 on the EqualLogic FS7610 and FS7600 appliances. Vigil said the new version of FluidFS reduces data by 48% with deduplication and compression.

Dell's SAN Headquarters 3.0 monitoring and reporting software also has been enhanced with the company's SupportAssist software, which works with Dell services to automate the creation of Dell ProSupport cases. Customers can open tech support cases and view the progress.

All of the new hardware and software are available as of this month.

This is the Dell's second all-flash storage platform. Earlier this year, it launched the Compellent SC220, which can be filled with SSDs or run as a hybrid system. The Compellent system uses its tiering software to place writes on SLC drives and reads on MLC.

Dell also launched FluidFS with deduplication and compression for Compellent this year. The data reduction technology for EqualLogic and Compellent comes from Dell's 2010 acquisition of Ocarina Networks.

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