Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

The holiday shopping season has come and gone but Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Compellent Technologies is offering its own bag of goodies to the midmarket enterprise storage channel with Storage Center 5.

Designed to simplify disaster recovery and enable automated tiered storage, its new features include: Portable Volume replication, scalable SAS storage, automated tiered storage with RAID 6 protection, Virtual Ports I/O technology, Server Mapping provisioning and space-efficient Consistency Groups.

This is an impressive announcement by an impressive company, says Dave Hill, Principal, Mesabi Group LLC. A little over 6 years old, Compellent has grown to annual revenues of $100 million and more than 1,600 customers, which very few storage companies ever manage to do, he says, especially for a company that sells exclusively through the channel. "That’s quite remarkable."

The company has more than 300 partners globally, but does only 15 percent of its business abroad, and it seems to be doing a very good job in the channel, says Hill. Its main competitors are EMC and NetApp, as well as IBM, HP and increasingly Dell with its EqualLogic line, he says. "Of all the companies that use channels, I’m not sure how many do it effectively, but Compellent does. Their growth has been very good, and that’s amazing… in this economy."

Last quarter (3rd) the company reported revenue grew 31 percent year-over-year to $32.2 million. During an earnings call with analysts, Compellent president and CEO Phil Soran said the company’s patented automated tiered storage function can decrease disk drive expenditures by at least 50 percent, and this is just one of the many efficiency features it provides. "We simply deliver the total package to end users."

While this is an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, product, Hill says a number of the new Storage Center 5 capabilities stand out. With Portable Volume customers can replicate data to portable external hard drives, which should come in handy for lower-cost backup and disaster-recovery applications. 

Storage Center 5 can scale from as few as six SAS drives up to 384 SAS drives with a mix of capacities and speeds within the same enclosures, supporting FC or iSCSI front-end server connectivity.  The benefit here is that customers can mix and match both storage technologies and protect their existing investments, says Hill.

He adds another attractive feature is the Automated Tiered Storage with RAID 6. Compellent first stores written data on fast storage configured with RAID 10 and then dynamically migrates the least active portions to RAID 6 for high availability and protection, without requiring manual intervention or services. That can free up more expensive storage while ensuring protection of critical but less-time-sensitive data like emails.

A typical entry-level configuration starts at $21,100 and includes dual clustered controllers, 10TB SAS storage and the following bundled software: Storage Center 5 Core with Virtual Ports, Server Mapping, Consistency Groups, Dynamic Capacity thin provisioning, Fast Track data placement, Data Instant Replay snapshots, and Enterprise Manager storage resource management. A configuration with automated tiered storage and replication starts at $38,100 and includes dual clustered controllers, 8.7TB SAS (six 1TB 7,200 RPM and six 460GB 15,000 RPM) drives, the same bundled software plus Data Progression tiering and Remote Instant Replay replication licenses. The optional Portable Volume Kit with two 2TB drives starts at $1,250.