Dell Hits ‘Home Run’ With New All-Flash, NVMe Storage Line

'Now we can go to the edge: regional banks, remote sites, retail stores, hospitals with PowerScale, which will be the highest- performing solution out there,' says Keith Odom, executive vice president of Dell partner RoundTower Technologies.


Dell Technologies' new PowerScale storage line opens the door for channel partners to attack the edge unlike ever before through new native public cloud integration, unstructured data software, and a 1U platform that can scale from 11 TB of raw capacity to 60 PB and millions of file operations.

“This is a home run for Dell,” said Keith Odom, executive vice president, systems engineering and services, at RoundTower Technologies, a Cincinnati-based Dell Technologies partner. “PowerScale is going downmarket in a space that maybe they haven’t been able to compete in as well as in the past based on price. Now we can go to the edge: regional banks, remote sites, retail stores, hospitals with PowerScale, which will be the highest-performing solution out there. So from a channel partner perspective, that’s a new space that we haven’t went after in the past because there wasn’t a good solution that made sense from an ROI perspective for our clients. This now opens a new market segment for us.”

Dell’s new PowerScale storage systems, which replace the company’s highly popular Isilon storage line, will create a new industry standard for how businesses capture and capitalize on unstructured data such as videos, images, social media content and documents.

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PowerScale’s OneFS operating system introduces new software capabilities including enhanced data reduction technology, support for Ansible, Kubernetes and Red Hat’s OpenShift, as well as access to Amazon’s S3 object storage. PowerScale can directly connect to major public clouds including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure as a managed service, ideal for customers looking to move or deploy demanding applications in the cloud.

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“We have our OneFS [software] capability either natively available through Google Cloud or directly connected to multiple public clouds,” said Caitlin Gordon, vice president of product marketing, storage and data protection at Dell Technologies, in an interview with CRN. “We have the ability to consume PowerScale as a service and leverage the public cloud compute of your choice and have the flexibility to switch between public clouds and never have to move the data.”

RoundTower’s Odom said OneFS for Google is more of a native Isilon solution—“basically Isilon in the cloud they built with Google.” He said Dell partners can now leverage public cloud-native services to drive lower costs, add flexibility and get data to the edge for customers.

The new Powerscale All-Flash 200 and All-NVMe appliances are built on Dell PowerEdge servers.

Nodes can be added to a PowerScale cluster in 60 seconds, while the storage system delivers up to 15.8 million input-output operations per second (IOPS).

PowerScale is powered by an enhanced Dell EMC OneFS operating system and new DataIQ software that breaks down data silos by delivering a single view of file and object data across Dell, third-party and public cloud storage environments. DataIQ allows customers and partners to tag, track, analyze and report on unstructured data—which is typically uncategorized and found in silos —along with the ability to intelligently move data to where it’s needed.

Dell’s Gordon said DataIQ gets customers out of the storage management business and into data management.

“DataIQ is all about being able to discover, understand and then better act on and leverage the data you already have,” said Gordon. “It will be able to discover all the data across the file data, the unstructured data, and it creates that global search and index across public clouds. Then you can discover the data and better understand what that data is—whether it’s a file or object, what type of metadata is associated with it, etc. Then you can actually do something with that like set up the policies to be able to logically group this data no matter where it resides.”

RoundTower’s Odom said his company, which made CRN’s 2020 Tech Elite 250 list, has already tested the software and plans to create a services practice based on DataIQ. He said there’s a big “gap in the market” regarding different offerings working seamlessly across a customer environment.

“Everybody’s tools work on their stuff, but there’s not a lot of tools that work across their portfolio, third-party solutions and the public cloud—DataIQ does that. So having this piece of software that gives you a full view is powerful and gives us a lot of good insight on client data so you can make the right decision,” Odom said.

RoundTower is planning a professional services offering based on DataIQ around data fragmentation assessment as well managed services for PowerScale. “When we sell the customer PowerScale, we can now leverage DataIQ to make sure that as the environment grows, new cold storage is being put in the right place. As more and more data is saved, we can keep the data deduped, keeping their cost down and their environment as efficient as possible,” he said.

PowerScale’s OneFS operating systems features broad multiprotocol support including new Amazon S3 support for modern applications relying on object storage. OneFS’s support for protocols including NFS, SMB, HDFS and now S3 allows customers to run large numbers of traditional and modern apps without compatibility concerns.

“So customers can read and write data simultaneously through NFS and S3 now. They’re not going to have to migrate data from one platform to another to leverage NFS on one and S3 on another—they can leverage a single platform and make it easy to have file and object access at the same time, to the same file system, on the same platform,” said Dell’s Gordon.

On the software front, PowerScale also includes Dell’s proactive health monitoring software, CloudIQ. The infrastructure monitoring and analytics software combines machine learning and human intelligence to provide customers with real-time performance and capacity analysis as well as historical tracking for a single view of their infrastructure.

Partners can sell PowerScale through the pay-per-use Dell Technologies On Demand program that allows flexible payment options to buy storage capacity as needed.

One of the major focuses for PowerScale was to create a low-cost entry solution with high bandwidth that would open new doors for channel partners at the edge, according to Scott Millard, senior vice president, specialty sales, global channel, alliances and OEM at Dell Technologies.

“I really think this launch turns on a whole new market opportunity at the edge for all of our partners,” said Millard in an interview with CRN. “The feedback from our partners has been, ‘We need a lower capacity and a lower-cost entry point for scale-out NAS, especially to open up these edge opportunities. We also need to expand our cloud capabilities.’ Those have been two things we’ve heard strongly from the partners, and that’s what we’ve done with PowerScale.”

For example, the new all-flash PowerScale F200 has a lower entry price point compared with competing storage vendors, he said. Dell has streamlined the special pricing process and channel sales incentives for the F200, as well as included built-in margin protection for partners versus direct and non-deal-registered partners.

“This is the next-level unstructured data storage solution made for the data era that we are now in,” said Millard. “We feel like this is the new industry standard.”

Dell EMC’s PowerScale OneFS 9.0, PowerScale nodes and DataIQ are now generally available globally.