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Dell announces 'storage blades,' converged data center strategy

June 12, 2012 01:01 PM ET

The Blade Arrays are being targeted for use as a traditional storage area network for consolidating storage in Exchange, SQL database and Sharepoint environments. The hybrid models are aimed at virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) to address boot storms and end-of-day shut downs, Vigil said.

The high-performance Dell EqualLogic Blade Array model - the PS-M4110XV -- supports up to 4,690 I/Os per second (IOPS) in a SQL transactional workload and up to 500MB/sec in a SQL data warehousing workload. The midrange PS-M4110X Blade Array supports up to 6,000 Exchange 2010 mailboxes, according to Dell.

Blade Array
The Dell EqualLogic Blade Array

The new Blade Arrays come with EqualLogic Array Software 6.0 that automatically virtualizes storage capacity and offers synchronous data replication, and snapshots. It also is now integrated with Microsoft Sharepoint for snapshotting of data. Until now, the software had been integrated with VMware, Exchange, SQL and Linux file systems.

The software also has a new feature called Volume Undelete, which is a capacity reclamation feature; whenever a thinly provisioned volume decreases in size, the capacity that is unused is reclaimed so it can be used in a storage pool by other applications. And it introduces automatic diagnostic data collection, which automatically sends data back to Dell Support.

"If a customer calls in for support, we have that historical diagnostic data, which helps us speed time to resolution," Vigil said.

Dell also announced it will be moving away from using third-party array controllers and will be building systems using their proprietary Compellent controller with Dell storage arrays from now on.

Dell acquired Compellent about 18 months ago.

"Six months ago, we released StorageCenter version 6, which was the transition to a 64-bit operation system. Now we're moving off third-party hardware that was part of the Compellent architecture and we're now onto Dell-based [server] hardware," said Bob Fine, director of marketing for Dell Compellent.

Fine said moving to Dell hardware will upgrade systems to a Intel Sandy Bridge processor, which offers a six-core architecture. The new hardware will also offer five times greater memory than previously offered on its platform. Memory can now scale from 32GB to 128GB.

Additionally, Dell announced its vStart 1000, a pre-configured and tested private cloud infrastructure using Compellent storage arrays blade servers and switches.

Previously, Dell's vStart pre-tested infrastructures used PowerEdge servers, Dell PowerConnect switches and EqualLogic storage arrays. Those configurations included the vStart 50, 100 and 200, which represented the number of virtual machines the infrastructure could support.

The vStart 1000 now uses Compellent storage arrays, and as the name indicates, supports up to 1,000 virtual machines. "So for the first time we're using Compellent storage in our vStart program," Vigil said.

covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at Twitter @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed Mearian RSS. His e-mail address is

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