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CRN Exclusive: Dell EMC Opens Up About New Midrange Storage Coming This Year

Dell EMC has been developing a new midrange storage line to eventually replace a number of current products including the Unity and SC families, and has quietly been making that new line, called "Trident" or "Midrange.next" available for alpha testing.

 Dell EMC is starting to reveal more about its planned introduction of a new midrange storage platform that will eventually unify and replace its legacy Unity midrange line, the midrange SC family from Dell's acquisition of Compellent, and the older PS line from Dell's acquisition of EqualLogic.

Dell EMC, like many top storage vendors, has over the years made several acquisitions that in the end gives it a product line card with multiple incompatible and, in some cases, competing, storage lines.

For Dell EMC, however, that situation could soon change.

[Related: Dell EMC Expands Unity, PowerMax Lines, Intros Cloud Storage Services]

While Dell EMC no longer actively sells its PS line, it is continuing to develop both its Unity and its SC families even as it works to bring a new single midrange line to market by year-end, said Caitlin Gordon, senior director of product marketing for Dell EMC storage.  

The multi-track development continues because of customer requirements, Gordon told CRN. "There is a massive installed base for the Unity and SC platforms," she said. "EMC has done lots of transitions in the past. We know what it takes to transition customers to new platforms.

Dell EMC will use a combination of non-disruptive migration tools to help make the transition to the new platform regardless of whether customers want to gradually move transition or do it all at once, she said.

While multiple channel sources have told CRN that the new midrange platform is code-named "Trident," Gordon declined to comment on that name. Instead, she said, the new platform is internally known as "midrange.next."

As to its eventual name when released, Gordon said she couldn't be too specific. "Going forward, we will have our PowerMax on the high end, and PowerVault on the low end," she said. "You can probably guess the new line will be Power something."

Select customers are already alpha-testing Midrange.next technology, Gordon said.

Dell EMC has two outstanding storage lines in its Unity and SC families, said Paul Clifford, president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul-based solution provider and longtime Dell EMC channel partner.

While both lines play in the same midrange space, each line can stand on its own given their large installed bases and the fact that customers usually have a preference for one over the other, Clifford told CRN.

"Continuing to work on both existing families while preparing the next generation of midrange arrays makes sense because the next generation will probably be revolutionary, not evolutionary," he said. "If it's revolutionary, some customers will want to start clean. But customers need upgrade paths."

Clifford said he has no ideas of what Dell EMC is planning with its next generation of midrange arrays. "But it makes sense to evolve both existing lines, not merge them, while continuing to work on something new," he said. "Dell EMC has a big focus on R&D."

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