Dell Starts Shipping EqualLogic Blade Array

Dell on Thursday said it is now shipping its EqualLogic Blade Arrays, and it supported its sales of the storage devices by releasing the results of a survey that shows customers like the idea of getting their servers and storage from the same source.

The EqualLogic Blade Arrays, which Dell first unveiled in June, are based on the same technology powering the company's existing EqualLogic storage. The PS-M4110 blade arrays include two controllers and up to 14 2.5-inch SAS hard drives or up to five SSDs and nine SAS hard drives.

The PS-M4110 fits into Dell's 10U PowerEdge M1000e blade chassis, along with Dell blade servers and Dell Force10 networking gear as part of a converged infrastructure.

[Related: Dell Targets HP, Cisco With New Blade Arrays, Converged Infrastructure ]

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Customers can choose a single blade array, two blade arrays grouped together in a load-balanced group or two groups of two arrays for up to 56 TB of storage in a 10U chassis.

The arrays are scalable to up to 2 petabytes of storage when external EqualLogic storage is attached.

Travis Vigil, executive director for Dell storage, said Dell is also providing a full slate of partner training and certification for the new Dell storage blade and that interest in the product is high among both Dell's direct sales reps and its channel partners because of the differentiation the storage devices bring to Dell's converged infrastructure lineup.

"Pure-play networking and storage companies don't have blade storage arrays or servers," Vigil said. "Compared to server vendors, this is the only SAN array in this form factor. It has all the functions and features of our EqualLogic arrays, but in a different form factor."

The Dell EqualLogic blade array shows just how far Dell has come from its PC-focused days, said Paul Clifford, president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul, Minn.-based solution provider and Dell partner.

"Dell several years ago realized it was the world's greatest seller of commodities," Clifford said. "But they saw commodities would not carry them into the future. But now, Dell has the best IT vision of anyone on the planet. They haven't quite integrated all the pieces together yet. But, you can see it coming."

NEXT: The Importance Of Integration

Davenport’s Clifford said Dell has taken its 12G server, which he called the best in the world, and married it with the Dell EqualLogic Blade Array, which he called the second-best storage device in the world. "I've seen the vision," he said

Davenport Group can pick and choose whatever manufacturer it wants to bring to customers, Clifford said. "And we choose Dell today because their solutions are the best," he said. "The definition of 'best' in IT is a crazy conversation. Look at HP, IBM and Dell. They all make good products. But when I look at Dell, I see them innovating and integrating solutions that no one else can offer."

That integration is important to Dell because it is what customers are demanding, Vigil said.

Vigil, citing a new survey by Forrester Research and sponsored by Dell, said that 95 percent of users surveyed said they see the value of purchasing storage from their server vendor.