Dell Expands Storage Portfolio With New Compellent, EqualLogic Offerings

The tech giant is rapidly building its storage capabilities as it continues its push to become a complete IT solutions vendor.

Dell is expanding the capabilities of its Compellent storage platform, including a new Compellent unified NAS-SAN offering and expanding its Fluid File System to the Compellent portfolio.

The new offerings are part of a larger rollout of new and enhanced technologies unveiled June 12 at the Dell Storage Forum event in Boston that also touch upon other areas of Dell€™s rapidly growing storage lineup, including EqualLogic, Powervault and AppAssure.

The show is designed to highlight Dell€™s efforts to expand upon and integrate the various storage technologies the company has inherited through a number of acquisitions in recent years in the space, from Compellent to Ocarina Networks, RNA Neworks and€”in February€”AppAssure, and as it winds down its partnership with EMC.

Dell is seeing its storage efforts pay off. Executives last month said that in the first three months of 2012, revenues for Dell-owned storage products were up 24 percent, although€”due to some leftover EMC-related sales€”total storage revenue fell 8 percent.

During keynote addresses the day before at the show, Brad Anderson, president of Dell€™s Enterprise Solutions Group, and Darren Thomas, vice president and general manager of Dell Storage, both talked about the crucial role storage is playing in the company€™s high-profile transformation into an end-to-end IT solutions provider with a portfolio that differs from those of rivals, such as Hewlett-Packard, EMC and Cisco Systems.

Speaking of the converged data center solution unveiled June 11€”an announcement that included new storage offerings€”Anderson said: €œThere€™s no reason storage should be left out of the converged [solutions trend].€

While the first day of the show featured news around the converged data center offering and Dell€™s efforts in the channel, June 12 was focused more squarely on storage and the company€™s Fluid Data architecture, a strategy announced last year that centers around an architecture leveraging automation to more quickly adapt to changing workload demands.

The new Compellent unified storage-area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) array includes the SC8000 and FS8600 products. They are aimed at lowering costs for customers by creating a virtualized, flexible and scalable pool of disks that can be viewed as a single resource that can be tapped as needed to meet workload demands. The array includes a new 2U (3.5-inch) 6GB SAS enclosure that can house either 12 3.5-inch or 24 2.5-inch disk drives.

The Compellent SC8000 controller can support both block and file data, eliminating the need to spend on separate solutions for both, according to Dell officials. The SC8000, based on Dell€™s 64-bit Storage Center 6.0 operating system, also offers greater energy efficiency and, with its ability to operate at higher temperatures than other systems, can be used in data center environments that use fresh air for cooling.

The FS8600 scale-out NAS module integrates with the Compellent automated tiering capabilities, enabling SAN and NAS within a single, scalable platform. Both versions of the FS8600 support 8GB Fibre Channel connections and either 1 Gigabit per second Ethernet or 10GbE connectivity.

In addition, Dell is bringing its Fluid File System, announced last year, to the FS8600, essentially expanding the reach of the Fluid File System across the Compellent, EqualLogic and PowerVault platforms. It offers businesses a single, common distributed file system for each platform, offering snapshots, replications and built-in data protection.

Dell also unveiled EqualLogic FS7600 and FS7610 10 GbE and PowerVault NX3600 and NX3610 10GbE NAS offerings that feature the Fluid File System. In addition, the company announced AppAssure 5, which offers greater scalability and performance than previous versions with a new object-based data repository architecture, which enables users to back up and protect larger data sets and big data applications, according to company officials.

Dell also introduced the Dell Brocade DCS 6505 entry-level 16GB Fibre Channel switch, which will complement Brocade midrange and SAN backbone offerings from Dell.

According to Dell, AppAssure 5 is available immediately, the Compellent SC8000 and Brocade DCS 6505 will be available this month, and the Compellent FS8600, EqualLogic FS7600 and FS7610, and PowerVault NX3600 and NX3610 will be released in the second half of the year.