Dell May Be Starting Storage Price War With $9K Array

UPDATED: Company had priced its new 2U starter enterprise system at about $14,000 per array; now the price is bouncing around according to demand.

new Dell array

Dell appears to be initiating a price war of sorts with its latest entry-level storage system.

Dell Storage's SCv2000 storage area network, launched on May 6 and made available immediately, is a relatively full-featured starter enterprise system that had been tagged at $14,000 per array, a price point that is unheard of from a major manufacturer in the IT business.

Then, a few days ago, the company trimmed the price again for a single array to $8,800, according to this notice. Even more unheard of. You can view a short video here.

But there's more to this story. Apparently the price is a very fluid one and there's a lot of interest, because on May 8, the company popped the price back up to $12,669, two days after eWEEK spotlighted the $8,800 tag.

Perhaps Dell wanted to see if anybody is paying attention to its price fluctuations. People do read eWEEK, the only publication to report the price change, and they do notice.

The new series, based on standard Dell Storage Center management software, uses Intel Xeon processors and launches with three models supported by three expansion options. Maximum capacity is 508TB, based on maximum number of drives (168) and current largest capacity supported drives, Dell said. That breaks down to about 3TB per drive. See the specifications here.

Do competitors like EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and others care to dabble in this price war? There's lots of demand out there right now. We'll see.

Dell also made two other storage-related announcements. It unveiled a PS6610 Series of dense arrays with EqualLogic PS Series Array Software 8.0 for large workloads. Ostensibly, this combination will provide 3.5 times the capacity and up to seven times the data movement speed, compared to previous similar arrays, for customers with large data repository requirements, the company said. These will be available globally in early Q3.

Microsoft Storage Spaces Support

Finally, Dell Storage will soon be available to use with Microsoft Storage Spaces, giving users another option in Dell's software-defined solutions (SDS) portfolio. This becomes available globally in June, Dell said.

As for the $14,000 starter system: "At Dell, it's been our mantra to be disruptive in the economics of storage," Alan Atkinson, Vice-President and General Manager of Dell Storage, told a group of journalists. No kidding. It's pretty difficult to find starter storage array systems for less than $25,000 anywhere.

The SCv2000 starters provide the same common management and several of the core features as higher-end Dell SC Series arrays, Atkinson said. They also have integrated data protection to support specialized projects, database and test environments, or simple storage consolidation.

More details:

--Arrays come in a single 2U enclosure;

--Options include proven data protection features, RAID tiering to optimize capacity, thin provisioning, flash support, data-migration services, and multi-protocol connectivity;

--Granular data protection that allows up to 2,000 snapshots and 500 replications;

--Integrated data protection features Remote Instant Replay, Local Instant Replays and Replay Manager along with RAID tiering that optimizes SAN capacity;

--Tight integration with common application environments, such as Microsoft and VMware, help to simplify virtualized data centers, allowing local and remote data protection features to take consistent snapshots of virtual machines without sacrificing performance.

Hybrid Flash, HDD Configurations

The upcoming PS6610 Series enterprise systems are Dell's mid-market, iSCSI-based arrays. They feature hybrid flash and hard disk drive configurations, support critical business applications and are ideal for customers with large data repository requirements. They combine the power of 10 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and dense storage, offering the ability to support half a petabyte of capacity in a single 5U array.

The new arrays support a wide range of customers, particularly those requiring high-performing, high-capacity and scalable storage to expand an existing EqualLogic/PS Series SAN, replace an existing storage infrastructure or deploy a new one.

The PS6610 appeals to organizations seeking advanced storage features in a dense array that is easy to manage and is optimized for workload consolidation, such as ERP applications, email storage and SQL databases, and for archival storage to support large data repositories such as those required for medical records, financial data and video surveillance.

Dell Storage with Microsoft Storage Spaces are tested and validated solutions designed to support Microsoft's SDS capabilities on Dell's enterprise-class server and direct attached storage hardware.

The new Scale-Out File Server (SOFS) solutions, available in five configurations, support customers seeking an SDS and virtualized storage approach to various workloads, including private cloud deployments, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and SQL and Hyper-V environments.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...