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Dell Looks To Shake Up All-Flash Array Biz With $25,000 Model

Dell's new entry-level all-flash SC4020 array features read-intensive SSDs as a way to keep the street price below all-flash storage arrays from its large competitors.

Dell Wednesday unveiled a low-cost entry-level all-flash version of its SC4020 storage array that brings down the cost of all-flash storage to $25,000, and introduced a PS-series hybrid storage array.

The new arrays were unveiled at Dell World, which is being held this week in Austin, Texas.

Dell introduced a new all-flash version of its SC4020, the "Baby Compellent" array Dell unveiled in June. This new array is street-priced starting at $25,000 with six 480-GB SSDs.

[Related: Partners Call Dell's 'Baby Compellent' SC4020 Release A Catalyst For New Business]

Dell was able to reach that low price point through the new SC4020's read-intensive SSDs instead of optimizing the device for write-intensive operations, said Travis Vigil, executive director of product management for Dell Storage.

"We think this is the lowest-priced entry-level all-flash storage array from a major vendor," Vigil told CRN. "The original SC4020 could be configured with a combination of write-intensive and read-intensive SSDs for very, very good performance. But these new arrays are for customers who have read-intensive applications."

Dell also unveiled the PS4210, the latest in its EqualLogic storage line.

The PS4210 is a hybrid hard disk and SSD array with double the cache and 10-Gbit Ethernet ports of its earlier PS4000 series, Vigil said.

Dell did the right thing by focusing the new entry-level SC4020 on read-intensive applications, said Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and longtime Dell channel partner.

"$25,000 for an all-flash array is really cheap," Tanenhaus told CRN. "Compared to other more-expensive flash options, the performance is less, but still many times greater than what is found in general-purpose spindle arrays. Dell is taking the right approach."

Mike Davis, vice president of technology at Broadleaf Services, a Billerica, Mass.-based solution provider and Dell channel partner, said the SC4020 sounds like a really good branch-office solution.

"It's similar to what Cisco did with the introduction of its Cisco Mini," Davis told CRN.

Davis also liked Dell's move to bring out a hybrid hard disk and SSD version of its entry-level EqualLogic line. "The PS4210 has all the features needed for business users," he said.

Tanenhaus said when he sees the new SC4020 and the PS4210 news side-by-side, he sees a single announcement that Dell is serious about low-cost flash options. "It's just that, if you are a Compellent house, there's one for you," he said. "If you are an EqualLogic house, there's one for you."

The entry-level all-flash Dell Storage SC4020 is expected to ship early next year, while the new Dell Storage PS4210 is available now.

PUBLISHED NOV. 5, 2014

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