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Dell announces 'storage blades,' converged data center strategy

Lucas Mearian | June 13, 2012
Dell today unveiled four different blade storage arrays with the ability to store up to 14TB of data per array, up to 28TB per group inside a blade chassis, and up to 56TB with two groups inside one blade chassis.

At its annual storage conference, Dell today announced a storage array in a server blade form factor that can be combined with networking and server blades in a single chassis.

Each Dell EqualLogic PS-M4110 Blade Array comes in four models and can hold up to 14 drives for up to 14TB of data per array, up to 28TB per group (two blades) inside a blade chassis, and up to 56TB with two groups inside one blade chassis. The drives come with a native encryption option.

The Blade Arrays can be combined with the Dell PowerEdge M420 blade servers and Dell Force10 MXL switches in a Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade chassis to create a pre-tested and certified Converged Blade Data Center.

"This is a pre-tested, validated and certified, end-to-end virtualization solution," said Travis Vigil, executive director of Dell's EqualLogic product line. "That gives you better energy efficiency, fewer cables and less operation overhead by having the server, networking and storage in single blade chassis."

The Blade Arrays will have a starting price of around $20,000 and will be generally available next quarter, Vigil said. They have dual controllers and offer hot-swap capabilities, allowing administrators to pull and replace drives or controllers without disrupting service.

The new arrays come in models that have one or two controllers, use 7 2.5-in SAS hard drives with capacities ranging from 146GB to 1TB and spindle speeds ranging from 7200rpm to 15,000rpm. The arrays can also take 2.5-in SAS solid-state drives (SSDs).

In hybrid models with a combination of drive types -- hard drives and SSDs -- tiering software automatically migrates the most frequently used data to the highest performing spindles, Vigil said.

Vigil referred to the Blade Arrays as the last in a three-pronged product line that includes the servers, launched last quarter, and the switches, released a month ago.

Dell EquaLogic Blade Arrays in a PowerEdge M1000e chassis.

The Blade Arrays are being targeted for use as a traditional storage area network for consolidating storage in Exchange, SQL database and Sharepoint environments. The hybrid models are aimed at virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) to address boot storms and end-of-day shut downs, Vigil said.

The high-performance Dell EqualLogic Blade Array model - the PS-M4110XV -- supports up to 4,690 I/Os per second (IOPS) in a SQL transactional workload and up to 500MB/sec in a SQL data warehousing workload. The midrange PS-M4110X Blade Array supports up to 6,000 Exchange 2010 mailboxes, according to Dell.

The EqualLogic Blade Array

The new Blade Arrays come with EqualLogic Array Software 6.0 that automatically virtualizes storage capacity and offers synchronous data replication, and snapshots. It also is now integrated with Microsoft Sharepoint for snapshotting of data. Until now, the software had been integrated with VMware, Exchange, SQL and Linux file systems.

 

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