Dell Intros Dedupe Appliance, Moves Compellent To 64-bit Software3:45 PM EST Wed. Jan. 11, 2012
Dell on Wednesday introduced its first deduplication appliance based on its Ocarina technology and upgraded the software for its enterprise-class Compellent storage line with 64-bit technology.
The moves, along with others including a new storage solution for Microsoft SharePoint and new storage support for its own Force10 and for Brocade technology, were unveiled at the Dell Storage Forum, held this week in London.
The update's to Dell's storage lines come in the wake of several acquisitions in the last couple of years which have turned Dell from a developer of low-end storage and a reseller of EMC's enterprise storage to one of the top providers of enterprise-class storage based on its own intellectual property.
As a result, Dell now has a number of different technologies which it can start applying across its multiple storage lines, said Mike Davis, director of product marketing for NAS and back-up storage products at Dell.
"It will be a long process to bring these together with a common management platform," Davis said. "It's part of our five-year storage roadmap."
Dell has already taken its first steps towards unifying its storage technologies. The company in October started integrating networking technology from its August acquisition of networking vendor Force10 Networks into its Dell vStart virtualization infrastructure offering and added compression technology from its July, 2010 acquisition of Ocarina Networks into its DX Object Storage Platform.
At the London event, Dell unveiled Compellent Storage Center 6.0, the first major upgrade of the Compellent storage array's operating system since Dell acquired Compellent last year.
The biggest change is transition from the previous 32-bit architecture to a new 64-bit architecture, said Bob Fine, director of product marketing for Dell Compellent.
The new code base is also more agile than in the past with the ability to upgrade to new protocols such as SAS and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) via plug-in cards, Fine said.
Dell has also added integration with CommVault's data protection software to provide improved resiliency of data stored on Compellent hardware.
Also new with Dell Compellent is enhanced integration with VMware for virtualized data center environments. This includes the addition of VMware vSphere storage APIs to speed up the deployment of virtual machines and significantly improve storage performance for data volumes shared by multiple virtual machines, Fine said.
The arrays also now support VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRA) 5 for automated failback from a disaster, as well as VMware technology for managing Compellent virtualized storage pools, he said.
The upgrade to the Compellent software is a big deal for Dell's customers, said Scott Winslow, president of Winslow Technology Group, a Boston-based solution provider and long-term Compellent partner.
"One thing competitors love to beat us up on is Compellent's 32-bit architecture," Winslow said. "Frankly, it's not a real big issue with customers. But it should mean a boost in performance. In general, it makes it more of a competitive threat in the enterprise storage market."
Patrick Mulvee, vice president of sales and marketing at Sidepath, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and long-term Compellent partner, said the upgrade is very welcome news.
"It's awesome, it's here, it's cool and great," Mulvee said. "This allows the Dell and Compellent software developers to do what they're great at: Create new features and functionality for the platform. It also allows us to win some bigger enterprise accounts."
Equally important is the fact that the upgrade, like all upgrades since Compellent first came to market, can be done by existing customer under maintenance contracts without changing the hardware, Mulvee said.
Next: Dell's New DR4000 Disk-based Dedupe Appliance
Dell also used the London event to introduce its first dedupe appliance based on its Ocarina technology. That device, the DR4000, decreases disk capacity requirements by up to a factor of 15 times, and provides inline dedupe and compression and replication of deduped data. It provides backup storage for as low as 25 cents per GB list price, Dell said.
The DR4000 targets the backup needs of remote and branch offices as well as traditional businesses, Davis said. "Therefore, it's really focused on the channel," he said.
The DR4000 is not Dell's first dedupe appliance. The company also offers the DL2200, an appliance built around CommVault's Simpana dedupe application.
Going forward, Dell plans to increase the capacity of the DR4000, and integrate its capabilities with Dell's EqualLogic and Compellent product lines and the Dell cloud, Davis said.
The addition of the DR4000 means new opportunities for the channel, Winslow said.
"For our customers, we have been offering dedupe products from Data Domain," he said. "It's a great product, but now it's part of EMC. And we've been offering the CommVault technology. But now, for our Dell-centric customers, we can go and show them a Dell solution."
Mulvee said the more exciting part of the Dell dedupe introduction is Dell's commitment to bring its Ocarina technology across its entire portfolio of storage hardware, and possibly into its server lines.
"It would be cool to lay the software across their entire hardware portfolio as well," he said. "You have to believe that's the way they're moving. If they have the software, why not utilize it as much as they can. Just look at VMware, which showed how to take advantage of software to do more with less hardware. Dell has the recipe now. So if they want to insert its dedupe software into other technology, they know how to do it."
Dell on Wednesday also unveiled its new Dell solution for Microsoft SharePoint Infrastructure Optimization, which combines Dell DX storage appliances; Dell Microsoft SharePoint assessment, design, and deployment services; and the AvePoint DocAve software for managing migration and other features, Davis said.
The result is an integrated solution for SharePoint lifecycle management and migration that improves capacity utilization, performance, business continuity, and compliance, he said.
Dell also validated its Dell Force10 S481010-Gbit Ethernet switch and its deep-buffer S60 1-Gbit/10-Gbit Ethernet switches for its EqualLogic storage appliance line, giving the EqualLogic auto-recognition and auto-configuration features.
Dell also integrated support for its Dell PowerConnect 8024 10Gb switches and M8024-k Blade IO modules in its Compellent array lines to integrate them in the field in a single step.
Also new is support for Brocade's new 16Gb Fibre Channel infrastructure with its Compellent line.
Dell's new Compellent Storage Center 6.0 software and DR4000 dedupe appliance are slated to be released sometime this calendar quarter.