Dell Updates EqualLogic with Major Refresh

By Chris Talbot  |  Print this article Print

Dell has released EqualLogic PS6100 and PS4100 Series, calling the new storage lineup the biggest refresh of EqualLogic since Dell acquired the company and technology in 2007.

Dell is pushing its EqualLogic storage products into the next generation with the release of the EqualLogic PS6100 and PS4100 Series, both of were designed to provide greater capacity and better performance than the previous generation of the storage products.

The PS4100 Series is an extension of the PS4000 Series and was developed with small and medium businesses (SMBs) and remote offices in mind. The PS4100 Series can support up to 36TB in a single array. The PS6100 extends the PS6000 Series for mid-sized customers and is capable of supporting up to 72TB in a single array and 1.2PB in a single group.

The PS4100 comes in 2U 24-drive and 12-drive configurations, and it’s the first time Dell has brought an EqualLogic product to market with a sub-$10,000 price tag. With the PS6100, Dell is offering 2U 24-drive and a 4U 24-drive chassis configuration. The 4U version will support high-capacity drives. The PS6100 Series will also support 400GB SSD drives.

"This is the first major refresh of hardware since the acquisition, and these are the platforms that I believe will be the foundation for the growth we expect in the coming years," said Travis Vigil, executive director of Dell Storage.

Both the PS4100 and PS6100 also support 2.5-inch drives for greater density, as well as for more efficient power and cooling, Vigil said.

According to Vigil, Dell is putting plenty of focus around storage and expects its storage business to continue its rapid growth. He noted that since Dell completed its acquisition of EqualLogic in January 2008, it has grown the EqualLogic installed base by eight times. Dell’s expectation is that number will double in the next few years.

The announcement also marks an expanded strategic partnership between Dell and VMware a week before the latter’s annual VMworld conference. The most recent release of the EqualLogic firmware (version 5.1, released in July) features a new provisioning awareness for VMware vSphere to speed up recovery time and mitigate the risk of potential data loss. With vSphere 5 on the horizon, Dell is also introducing VMware-specific enhancements to EqualLogic, Compellent and PowerVault storage products, including Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for VMware 3.1, which includes better storage visibility and datastore management in addition to improved performance and availability; Dell Compellent Storage Replication Adapter for VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5, which supports automated failback from disaster event and new workflows for planned migrations and downtime; and Dell PowerVault Integration with VMware vSphere 5, which enables customers to manage multiple PowerVault MD3200 and MD3600 storage arrays from a single vCenter Server instance.

One thing that hasn’t changed in the latest EqualLogic products is Dell’s all-inclusive licensing model, so customers will get free access to the new tools and firmware release, which Vigil noted as a way for Dell channel partners to differentiate themselves from the competition.

"Our goal is to give them enterprise storage capabilities, but make it so easy that an IT generalist can manage these arrays," he said.

One of the things Steve Bishop, CTO of Dell partner VeriStor, likes about the EqualLogic platform is the licensing model, but he noted he’s also impressed with the performance and reliability of the hardware. VeriStor currently manages more than 400 EqualLogic systems in the field right now.

"We’ve been testing a 6100 here for the last two or three months, and it’s performed flawlessly," Bishop said.