Dell Server, iSCSI SAN Upgrades Imminent

server iSCSI storage device Gigabit

"The eleventh generation of the PowerEdge Server will be launching in the next couple of weeks. It is a powerhouse around virtualization, bringing simplified management, lower total cost of ownership and higher return on investment," said Bob Skelley, director, enterprise architecture channel for Dell, Round Rock, Texas, during a presentation this week at the XChange Solution Provider '09 conference in New Orleans. XChange Solution Provider is owned by EverythingChannel, the parent company of

Skelley also shared high-level details of the forthcoming EqualLogic PS6000 iSCSI storage array, which features four Gigabit Ethernet ports, noting that the Dell team affectionately refers to the device as "the Quadfather."

Both products will be sold through Dell's channel partners, Skelley said.

Sources familiar with Dell's plans said both products are set to launch on March 25. Entry-level pricing on the EqualLogic PS6000 will start at $19,000, sources said.

Sponsored post

Dell declined to comment on launch date or pricing details.

The Dell EqualLogic PS6000 Series storage device brings several notable hardware upgrades over its predecessor, the PS5000 Series, including the addition of a fourth Gigabit Ethernet port. The PS5000 Series only has three ports.

The extra Gigabit Ethernet port makes the new iSCSI SAN array more capable of competing with Fibre Channel SANs, solution providers said.

"If Dell-EqualLogic adds another port to their SAN , it will help it compete with Fibre Channel, which has a four-port interface," said Brad Mathisen, managing partner and CIO for Greenville, S.C.-based solution provider Acumen IT. "With four ports, the PS6000 would help level the playing field."

The PS6000 will include support for solid state hard drives, which will help position the SAN better in the market by providing customers operating with high disk I/O an option other than traditional hard drives, sources said.

Solid state drives will also help customers plan for new storage devices in the future, sources said. But there are still lingering concerns among solution providers that the price tag on a solid state drive will drive customers away.

"Solid state is too expensive to implement in any kind of rollout right now," said Vinny DiSpigno, CEO of Webistix, a Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider. "But when we architect a solution, something like a solid state hard drive is nice to check off."

Solution providers are somewhat nonplussed by the PS6000's entry-level price of $19,000, noting that a solution that will function fully for customers will cost more.

"The entry-level price point is attractive to customers," said a source familiar with Dell's storage strategy, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The thing about that unit, though, is that it is not fully redundant to be used in a production environment. Entry level can get you going, but customers will want one that's fully populated, which brings the price up. We typically quote customers somewhere around $30,000 and then come in under that."

The next-generation PowerEdge Servers are designed with virtualization in mind, Dell's Skelley said.

Sources said the new servers will also feature enhancements to systems management features, as well as improved power and cooling considerations. The new PowerEdge servers are designed to reduce power consumption and increase performance capacity. Additionally, the boxes feature Energy Smart components.

"Power and cooling is important to customers," DiSpigno said. "Energy is expensive. Cooling is expensive. People are looking at those elements when they're preparing to do an implementation."

Pricing on the new PowerEdge Servers, which will include up to five models, has still not been released.