Dell Moves into Higher-End NAS with EMC-based Gateway

Dell rolls out a network-attached storage gateway that consolidates all file and block data into one storage pool on a common storage area network.

Hoping to attract more enterprise customers, Dell Inc. has introduced a network-attached storage gateway that consolidates all file and block data into one storage pool on a common storage area network.

The Dell/EMC NS500G is a gateway NAS product that sits in front of the Dell/EMC SAN and allows customers to retrieve files from their SAN, increasing the utilization of storage assets and simplifying management.

The product, available this summer, provides CIFS (Common Internet File System), NFS (Network File System) and iSCSI support from a management console. It delivers up to 25,000 SPEC operations per second in an active-active dual data mover configuration, and up to 32TB of capacity using the Dell/EMC CX SAN architecture.

By combining file and block storage in one architecture, large enterprises that require both file and block storage will gain scalability, flexibility and efficiency, said Praveen Asthana, director for storage for the Dell Product Group in Round Rock, Texas.

"Take a large company that has applications requiring file storage, like engineering design, and applications that require block storage, like a database. Traditionally, they have had separate storage farms for each application, which is expensive and difficult to manage," he said.

Organizations with both block and file needs also often find that they may have extra capacity for their database while their file storage is depleted, necessitating the purchase of extra capacity, Asthana said.

"By consolidating on the SAN, we can serve the engineering design guys with files from the NS500G and serve the database guys with block from the SAN," he said. "It gives them one architecture to manage, and if they need to allocate more block storage to the engineering design team, its available in the SAN."

The NS500G is somewhat of a departure for Dell, which, until now, has based all of its NAS products on Windows Storage Server 2000.

"By definition, that means it has been at the low end of the spectrum," said Arun Taneja, founder of the Taneja Group in Hopkinton, Mass. "With this move, it is clearly trying to satisfy larger applications looking for higher-end NAS boxes, which Dell didnt have until now. Its a signal that Dell is readying itself to go upstream in their customer accounts and go after larger customers it may not have been attracting in the past."

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Asthana acknowledged that the introduction of the NS500G is part of the companys strategy to move upmarket into more enterprise accounts.

"Its an extension of what weve already done win the Clariion CX family," he said. "We used to sell low-end Clariion and now were increasingly selling more high-end Clariion."

Dells strategy will allow the company to compete more directly with Network Appliance Inc. instead of its traditional competitors, such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Adaptec Inc. and white box vendors that license NAS software from Microsoft Corp., Taneja said.

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