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Dell’s Next-Generation Storage Platform Is Here: PowerStore Is ‘Untouchable’

PowerStore is the ‘absolute right platform for what customers need now and will need through the data era,’ says Dell Technologies’ Caitlin Gordon.

To say that Dell Technologies is confident in its new midrange all-flash PowerStore platform is a significant understatement.

“The amount of time, energy and resources we have to build this platform, including VMware, there’s no one else in the industry that can ever attempt to touch this,” said Caitlin Gordon, vice president of product marketing for Dell Technologies. “Even looking into the future where we know we can go with PowerStore and what our competitors have today—and even what they could build if they tried to compete—this is untouchable and really exciting for us. … We fundamentally believe we’ve built the absolute right platform for what customers need now and will need through the data era.”

The worldwide leader in storage thinks it can leave the competition in the dust with PowerStore, a scale-up, scale-out container-based architecture built from the ground up with technology that addresses the challenges of an ever-increasing number of workloads.

With built-in machine learning and automation, PowerStore is a programmable infrastructure that aims to streamline application development and reduce deployment time from days to seconds with VMware integration and support for orchestration frameworks including Ansible, VMware vRealize Orchestrator and Kubernetes, according to Gordon.

“Programmable infrastructure is something more and more of our customers are asking for,” said Gordon. “You can truly treat this system like code so you can streamline your development eff orts as well as automate storage workflows. It’s all about being able to take the database storage tasks and automate those in the tools and frameworks that our customers are using for the rest of their data center. It can now help you deploy new resources in seconds versus days. It takes out all those manual steps, which not only saves time, but helps reduce risk. … It’s truly an autonomous appliance.”

PowerStore’s machine-learning engine optimizes performance and reduces cost by automating labor-intensive processes like initial volume placement, migrations, load balancing and issue resolution. The platform will recommend where to best place data. Meanwhile, Dell’s new container-based software architecture, PowerStoreOS, allows for next-level deployment flexibility by enabling feature portability, standardization and rapid time-to-market for new capabilities. Customers can run PowerStoreOS directly on the platform or within a virtual machine (VM) running on PowerStore’s embedded VMware hypervisor.

“PowerStore is the only purpose-built array in the industry with VMware ESXi hypervisor built-in,” said Gordon. “We are able to abstract that storage OS, on-board VMware and run that OS in a VM. Why would you do that? You’d only do that for this next piece, which is why we are introducing the industry’s first feature called AppsON. It allows us to run applications directly on the storage appliance.”

When PowerStoreOS runs on a VM, administrators can access the hypervisor to deploy apps directly on the appliance for maximum flexibility, making AppsON ideal for data-intensive workloads in core or edge locations and infrastructure applications.

Another major feature built in is Dell EMC CloudIQ, which provides proactive monitoring and predictive analytics inside PowerStore. CloudIQ puts planning data at customers’ fi ngertips by delivering a single-pane-of-glass view within their infrastructure, including real-time performance analysis and historical tracking.

Stephen Ayoub, president of Chicago-based AHEAD, a $1.3 billion Dell Technologies Titanium partner, said PowerStore is the “next-generation” future-proof storage solution customers are clamoring for.

“The architecture is looking at micro-segmentation and running containers on your storage array—that’s what the industry wants. That’s going to make complexity go away and it’s going to increase speed from the application side,” said Ayoub.

Dell Technologies said PowerStore is seven times faster and has three times lower latency response times compared with its Unity XT, due to end-to-end NVMe design and support for Intel Optane storage-class memory. Businesses can save money and space with PowerStore’s always-on intelligent deduplication and compression, with a guaranteed 4:1 data reduction without compromising performance.

New Anytime Upgrade options allow customers to upgrade their PowerStore system at any time in the contract. The combination of Anytime Upgrades and PowerStore’s adaptable architecture marks an end to the traditional cycle of disruptive platform migration, according to Dell Technologies.

“We will have seamless migration to PowerStore for a variety of all of our different existing storage portfolio offerings,” said Gordon. “Not only will it be a seamless experience, but it will also be the last migration that customers will ever do. Because once they’re in the platform, they will never have to migrate again.”

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