Dell Makes Storage Presence Felt

Mike Vizard

It’s no secret that Dell views storage as a critical component of its plan to gain a larger share of the enterprise IT market. What’s not so apparent is how far Dell has come since opting to no longer resell EMC storage products.

At the recent Dell Enterprise Forum, the company unveiled a raft of storage offerings, including one of the more sophisticated approaches to managing Flash memory storage available.

The Dell Compellent Flash Optimized Solution makes use of different classes of solid-state drives (SSDs) for read and write operations. For data that is read-only, the Dell Compellent Flash Optimized Solution will automatically deploy that data on less expensive, multi-level-cell (MLC) SSDs, while data that requires frequent writes to disk will be placed on single-level-cell (SLC) SSDs that are more expensive but provide higher levels of performance.

According to Bob Fine, product director for Dell Storage, given the complexities associated with deploying SSDs in the enterprise, IT organizations are looking for ways that simplify not only the management of SSDs, but the way data is automatically tiered between SSDs and hard disk drives within the same storage system.

Dell has also improved the performance of the Dell Fluid File System, which is based on technology the company gained when it acquired Exanet in 2010, by allowing as much as 2TB of data to be addressed in a single name space. In addition, Fine says that Dell has added policy-based management tools that make the Dell Fluid File system environment much simpler to manage.

As part of an effort to make it easier to deploy storage in environments where space is a concern, Dell unveiled a Dell Compellent SC280 offering that provides up to 336TB of data storage in a 5u footprint.

Finally, Dell also pledged support for both the Intel distribution of Hadoop and the new search capabilities being included in a forthcoming implementation of Hadoop for Cloudera.

Even though IT organizations are trying to manage more data than ever, Fine says overall storage budgets remain relatively flat. This is because organizations on average are doing a better job of squeezing higher rates of utilization out of their existing systems.

It’s only a matter of time before Big Data forces the upgrade issue. And when that happens, Fine says Dell will not only have a fleet of storage offerings that provides the most efficient mechanisms for managing massive amounts of data in the densest of IT environments, but also a policy-based architecture that invokes higher levels of automation to manage all that storage without having to continually throw storage administrators at the problem.



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