Dell's 12G Servers, New Storage Arrays: What's The Endgame?

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On the storage side, Dell Monday unveiled the EqualLogic PS Series storage arrays featuring 10-Gbit Ethernet for increased performance along with new increased capacity points that together improve performance for applications and workloads by up to 69 percent over the previous generations of the line.

Travis Vigil, executive director for Dell EqualLogic, said the new arrays are the industry's first to include an end-to-end iSCSI over Data Center Bridging solution, enabling them to offer affordable, enterprise-class storage with the reliability and performance typically associated with traditional Fibre Channel arrays.

"We really see this as an inflection point in iSCSI," Vigil said. "A lot of people see Data Center Bridging as a driver for FCoE [Fibre Channel over Ethernet]. We have FCoE in our Compellent storage line. But Dell recognizes the importance of FCoE for iSCSI."

The Dell EqualLogic PS6110 series of midsize business storage for multiple physical or virtual servers can be optimized for density with up to 69 percent more SATA capacity or 350 percent more SAS capacity than in the past, or for performance, with up to 24 high-speed SAS drives per 2U of rack space, Vigil said.

A new controller, and the increased use of high-performance disks, increases performance of the PS6110 by nearly 70 percent over previous models, while the addition of 10-GbE provides twice the performance with only half the ports of previous Gbit Ethernet ports, he said.

Dell is also including for the first time the ability to configure the PS6110 with both optical and copper 10GbE networking for flexibility, Vigil said.

The EqualLogic PS4110 series arrays have the same features of the PS6110 but with a maximum capacity of 36 TB in a single array vs. the 72-TB maximum of the PS6110.

New management and integration tools for Microsoft, VMware and Linux are part of the arrays, said Laz Vekiarides, an executive director for Dell EqualLogic.

For Windows environments, Dell is including the ability to consolidate the data snapshots of up to 16 servers running Hyper-V virtualization. This can be done automatically instead of the traditional manual method that requires doing snapshots of each server individually, Vekiarides said.

"I believe this is an industry first," he said. "We're using our own Dell-unique intellectual property for this."

A single console now manages snapshots over the SAN in Microsoft SQL and Exchange environments in a unified manner, he said.

For Linux users, Dell has added automated snapshot capabilities for the first time. "Before, we could only do this in VMware and Microsoft environments," he said. "Now we're bringing it to Linux. We're including applications for consistent snapshots for Linux so that if you need to restore an application, it's now a single command."

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