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Dell’s Storage Forum – 2012 Paris edition – Review

November 18, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

During last week (13 – 16 November 2012), Dell hosted their second European Dell Storage Forum , in Paris and some exciting products have been announced.

The common message send during the even is Dell’s vision of Fluid Data , where the goal is make systems to work better better by leveraging the knowledge within the different Dell’s departments/divisions.

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

Dell Compellent

For the Dell Compellent product range the Storage Center 6.3 was announced (planned availability for beta in early 2013 and general availability in Q2 2013) . This new release promises a 100% performance boost !! ( Dell testing performed on dual SC8000 controllers running OLTP workloads using IOmeter with a 100% random 70/30 read/write mix and 4K sector transfer sizes. Testing using pre-release Storage Center code version 6.3.1.161 versus 6.1.2 code) ,  by having just a software update !! How cool , is to be able to download a piece of software and have such massive performance upgrade !? Also notorious is the fact that the Compellent would be the first array with 16Gb FC end to end support.

Bob Fine (Compellent´s Director) said during the press and bloggers session that the updates would be available for free to customers with existing support, without any need for  downtime or rip and replace. This is a very exciting news for all Compellent’s customers out there!

No doubts that the the upgrade to a 64bit version of the Storage Center done earlier this year during the Storage Forum in London,  was the first step to enable such software improvements as we are knowing now.

Dell MD series & Data Protection

Dell’s MD series has now the version 3 of the firmware , and this version introduces iSCSI based async replication, thin provisioning, VMware VAAI support and SSD based caching. From a service continuity perspective data protection enhancements include dynamic disk pools that simplify disk management and improve rebuild performance by distributing data across all drives, decreasing significant recovery time of drive failures.

Having in mind that the MD series products are designed to maintain up to 99.999 percent availability, good pricing model, good perfomance and a very good set of features, this type of product starts to be very attractive to be deployed as a first SAN solution for many customers out there.

Dell Equallogic

The Equallogic line didn’t had any announcement, however for those who have been paying attention some interesting information has been released. The overall direction is to abstract the software that composes the Equallogic OS from it’s hardware, and this opens the way for running Equallogic as a virtual storage appliance . By doing this , one can only imagine a future where we could leverage the same tools and architecture to run the “typical” Equallogic hardware array at the HQ and have a server with local disks attached running Equallogic as a VSA on a branch office. This is purely my take based on the information mentioned during the event, so please don’t take for granted this possible scenarios.

Dell Backup products

Within the  data protection layer , Dell added new products for their portfolio including an AppAssure based appliance (Dell PowerVault DL4000), a Quest based solution (Quest NetVault Backup 9.0) and a CommVault based solution (Dell Powervault DL2300).

I must confess that at this moment it’s somehow unclear to me what’s the strategy of Dell on the backup area due to the fact that they have too many products. I look forward for the coming months to see how products will evolve and perhaps be consolidated .

My view 

There’s no doubt that the concepts of Fluid Data and Working Better Together are working out and have a tremendous potential to go much beyond the current reach , however the challenge will be how to combine the power of all the acquisitions done so far, in a timely way and keeping the dedicated balance of time to market vs product quality .

Dell has indeed an extensive set of IP within the organization and this allows Dell to be in a very interesting position within the market to become a true leader in the area.

It’s definitely a very interesting time to be involved within the IT Storage Industry , and I’m truly excited to see what the future holds in terms of strategy execution of Dell.

If you haven’t been present on a Dell Storage Forum I highly recommend you to do so, since you can have access to a wide range of hands-on-labs , as well as the possibility to brainstorm with several Dell exec’s and IT professionals.

The next Dell Storage Forum will be :

As such, see you soon or wir sehen uns bald !

For more information about the Dell Storage Forum 2012 Paris please check the official website .

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