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12 New Storage Products And Rumors From Dell EMC And Friends

Joseph F. Kovar

Dell EMC and some of its strategic partners used the recent Dell Technologies World conference to highlight significant advances in storage tech for managing and protecting on-premises and cloud-based data, but Dell kept mum on its coming "Midrange.next."

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Dell EMC And Friends Showcases Latest In On-Prem, Cloud Storage 

Dell EMC is expanding much of its storage portfolio with an eye on helping customers and their channel partners better manage data in cloud and other fast-changing environments. And it is counting on some of its vendor partners to help it in its quest.

During the recently-concluded Dell Technologies World conference, the company unveiled major enhancements to its midrange Unity, flagship PowerMax, and unstructured data Isilon lines, and introduced a new range of cloud storage services. It also unveiled a new line of data protection software and appliances.

Dell EMC is making the cloud a more central part of its storage offerings with the introduction of its first Cloud Storage Services, and is working with Intel to bring Optane dual-port enterprise server-class memory to its flagship PowerMax line. Dell EMC also introduced its new PowerProtect data protection software and appliance family.

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

However, the company was not yet ready to roll out its upcoming midrange storage array slated to eventually replace multiple current midrange lines. That new array, for now known as "Midrange.next," is likely to get its formal unveiling some time before year-end.

For a look at that mystery "Midrange.next" array, and at the technology openly touted at Dell Technologies World, check out our slideshow.

Dell EMC Opens Kimono For Peek At New "Midrange.next" Storage Coming This Year 

One thing not publicly shown at Dell EMC World was 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's many acquisitions over the years has given it a product line card with multiple incompatible and, in some cases, competing, storage lines. However, even as it continues developing both its Unity and its SC families, it is quietly working on a new single midrange line expected to hit the 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."

While multiple channel sources have told CRN that the new midrange platform is code-named "Trident," Gordon said the new platform is internally known as "midrange.next." However, it is likely to come with Power as part of its name, given that it will sit between the entry-level PowerVault and flagship PowerMax, she said.

Cloud Storage Services 

Dell EMC introduced Dell EMC Cloud Storage Services as a way to extend data center storage services to public clouds in conjunction with its Unity XT, PowerMax, and Isilon lines.

Dell EMC will initially support two use cases with Cloud Storage Services. The first is an automated disaster recovery-as-a-service supporting the Unity and the PowerMax platforms, and the second is multi-cloud access for use in bursting to the cloud for things like workload analytics and test/dev.

Cloud Storage Service is currently available in North America.

"[These will] help our customers extend their data centers from on-premises into the cloud," Grocott said. "Our Cloud Storage Services deliver the performance and resiliency of the Dell EMC storage that [customers] would expect on-prem, but now can leverage and take advantage of the agility of the public cloud's compute in an as-a-service model."

PowerMax

Dell EMC introduced several major enhancements to its flagship PowerMax line in addition to its ability to work with Cloud Storage Services.

The biggest is the introduction of a new storage-class memory technology for a big jump in performance. That technology was jointly developed by Dell EMC and Intel and based on Intel's Optane technology, and first introduced at Dell Technologies World.

Gordon said PowerMax will be the first scale-out storage platform to ship with Intel's dual-port, enterprise-class storage-class memory device. "Intel has made its storage-class memory available for PCs and servers, but this is the first to be available inside a storage device like the PowerMax," she said.

Also new with PowerMax is a big expansion into automation with a new plug-in for VMware's vRealize Orchestrator, or vRO, to automate workflow. Support for Ansible playbooks will be added this Summer.

This Summer will also see compatibility with the new Container Storage Interface, or CSI, making PowerMax the only platform to support everything from mainframes to containers, Gordon said.

Unity XT

The Dell EMC Unity XT, the latest in the company's Unity midrange storage line, is aimed at improved performance and efficiency, as well as to help clients more quickly move to multi-cloud infrastructures.

Unity XT features a combination of software enhancements and the latest generation of Intel processors to double the performance of the previous generation of Unity. It is slated to ship in the second quarter of 2019.

The Unity XT is NVMe-ready, Grocott said. "Customers over time to will be able to seamlessly and non-disruptively add NVMe drives to their Unity XT system," he said.

"NVMe-ready" means that customers in about a year after Unity XT is released will be able to do a non-disruptive software upgrade to take advantage of the high-performance NVMe protocol, Gordon said.

Unity XT officially features a 5-to-1 data reduction capability, although many customers see more, Gordan. Dell EMC offers a guaranteed 3-to-1 data reduction guarantee, as long as the data in question does not contain large amounts of photographs or other files which are very difficult if not impossible to deduplicate or compress, she said.

Isilon OneFS 8.2

Dell EMC introduced the Isilon OneFS version 8.2 software and hardware to help provide customers with the scalability and performance need to manage the massive deluge of unstructured data they are continuing to see, particularly with the new kinds of workloads including artificial intelligence, Grocott said.

The new version of Isilon OneFS will support an increase of 75 percent in terms of capacity to up to 58 petabytes of capacity in a single file system and a single volume compared to the previous version. Dell EMC also expanded Isilon's multi-cloud support with the Cloud Pool technology that allows data to be moved from Isilon to both the Google and Alibaba public clouds. The new Isilon OneFS technology is also being given native Google Cloud Platform support for file services, with early access scheduled to be available this Summer. By year-end, Isilon will also support Dell EMC's CloudIQ cloud-native mobile application to provider infrastructure insights and analytics.

Dell EMC also introduced a new entry-level node for the Isilon. The H5600 is a 4U chassis that can fit up to four nodes starting at 200 TBs each using 10-TB SATA hard drives.

The new Isilon OneFS 8.2 appliances and software are slated to ship some time in the second quarter of 2019.

PowerProtect Software 

Dell EMC used Dell Technologies World to beef up its data protection capabilities with its new PowerProtect software.

The new PowerProtect software is Dell EMC's next-generation data management platform designed from the start as a software-defined offering that supports self-service SaaS environments in multi-cloud environments, and comes with what Grocott called "best-in-class" VMware integration to simplify protecting applications living within a VMware environment.

The PowerProtect software has native integration with VMware, Oracle, and other applications, and allows the development of a centralized governance and oversight capability while enabling long-term retention to public clouds.

PowerProtect X400 

Also new at the conference was the PowerProtect X400, a data protection that comes integrated with the PowerProtect software. The newest member of the Dell EMC IDPA (Integrated Data Protection Appliance) family, the PowerProtect X400 scales up and out, and can be configured as a hybrid-disk or an all-flash appliance.

The PowerProtect X400 is scheduled to be available in July.

IDPA 4400 

Dell EMC went a bit down market with the introduction of a new entry-level version of its (Integrated Data Protection Appliance) family. The IDPA 4400 can be configured as small as 8 TBs, compared to the existing model which starts at 24 TBs, and is targeted at remote office and branch office environments.

There has been some overlap between the IDPA family and the Dell EMC Data Domain family of integrated data protection appliances, particularly at the entry-level end of the Data Domain family which starts at 32 TBs of physical capacity and can actually be priced lower than the existing IDPAs. The introduction of the 8-TB version of the IDPA 4400 will help differentiate the two lines.

Pavilion Data Shows New NVMe-oF 

Pavilion Data Systems, San Jose, Calif., use Dell EMC Technologies World to unveil the availability of version 2.2 of its Pavilion Data platform featuring NVMe over Fabric, or NVMe-oF. The new release features increased write performance to as high as 90 GBs-per-second, with write latency as low as 40 microseconds with RAID-6 protection. It also offers fast SWARM recovery for RAID rebuilds and consistency groups for snapshots. With SWARM, a single SSD can be rebuilt at a rate of under 5 minutes per terabyte, the company said.

The Pavilion Data Platform also includes a suite of data management capabilities including thin provisioning, snapshots, and data at rest encryption. Through disaggregated rack-scale flash, customers have the flexibility to either reuse existing standard 2.5-inch NVMe SSDs or newer higher-performance flash drives from other manufacturers.

Virtual Instruments, Dell EMC, Cisco, SANBlaze Demo Enterprise-class NVMe-oF 

Together with Dell EMC and Cisco, along with Littleton, Mass-based storage testing expert SANBlaze Technology and San Jose, Calif.-based enterprise performance technology developer Virtual Instruments, got together at Dell Technologies World to show that the NVMe-oF storage protocol is ready for the enterprise. Together, they collaborated to demonstrate a complete enterprise-class NVMe-oF ecosystem from testing to deployment. The demonstration simulated an NVMe-based, workload-heavy enterprise environment. It featured Virtual Instrument's VirtualWisdon infrastructure monitoring and AIOps platform and WorkloadWisdom storage performance validation platform, the Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe storage array, Cisco MDS 9100 series 32-Gbit multilayer fabric switches and its SAN Analytics and SAN Telemetry streaming technology, and SANBlaze's VirtuaLUN storage emulation.

Faction Joins Dell EMC Select Partner Program 

Faction, a Denver-based MSP with capabilities for VMware Cloud on AWS, joined the Dell EMC Select Partner Program allowing its products and services, which support part of the recently announced Dell EMC Cloud Storage Services portfolio, to be quoted and sold directly by Dell EMC sales as part of the Dell EMC Select catalog.

Faction also added support for Dell EMC's storage portfolio to its Hybrid Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (HDRaaS) and Cloud Control Volumes (CCV) products across Dell EMC Unity, Isilon, and PowerMax. HDRaaS provides Dell EMC customers with a warm standby disaster recovery offering with VMware Cloud on AWS, while Faction CCV on Dell EMC storage provides cross-cloud storage for public cloud customers using AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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