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

Dell today launched a new series of storage solutions under its EqualLogic
brand to help partners better serve the SMB market and increase market share
against rivals Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

“The iSCSI market is a bright spot in IT spending,” says Travis Vigil,
senior manager for Dell’s EqualLogic product line. “We’ve definitely seen that
reflected in EqualLogic’s year-over-year growth, which in the first quarter of
2009 was up 71 percent compared to the first quarter 2008.”

IDC Research estimates Dell/EqualLogic
currently claims a 36 percent revenue share of the external storage market,
which is growing at about 40.5 percent per year. Vigil says these numbers prove
that Dell’s growing much faster than the overall storage market and is within
two market share points of competitors HP and IBM.

Driving this growth is the increased pressure on customers to limit
acquisition costs and operating costs, says Vigil. The EqualLogic PS4000 series
of storage arrays include the PS4000E with iSCSI connectivity, the PS4000X with
10K SAS connectivity and the PS4000XV with 15K SAS connectivity.

The new storage arrays, which start at $10,000, offer a less expensive
infrastructure option for SMBs that combines many enterprise-class features
with ease-of-use and easy scalability, Vigil says.

The PS4000 arrays offer high-end features such as storage virtualization,
thin provisioning, server virtualization integration and advanced management
capabilities, Vigil says. In addition, solution providers and their customers
are offered investment protection, since the PS4000 series integrates with
legacy EqualLogic storage environments as well as the PS6000 storage array
targeted to enterprise customers.

Vigil says that the PS4000 arrays offer seamless integration with all major
hypervisors from virtualization vendors VMware, Citrix and Microsoft’s Hyper-V.
The PS4000 also includes the capability to manage virtualized storage
deployments from customers’ native hypervisor console, whatever vendor they

Jeff Boardman, solutions architect at Dell partner Corporate IT Solutions,
says his company has been using a PS4000 demonstration unit for a few months,
and is thrilled with the capabilities and the customer opportunities the
product will provide.

“As an engineer, it can be frustrating when vendors introduce an entry-level
product because most of the time they cut out all kinds of important features,”
Boardman says. “But with the PS4000, the only limitations are the amount of
bandwidth that can travel over iSCSI and the number of units that can be
stacked together.”

In essence, Boardman adds, EqualLogic is allowing solution providers to
target smaller customers with a solution that doesn’t eliminate any important

Boardman says he doesn’t find the P4000’s limitations a drawback, since most
SMB customers that Corporate IT Solutions would approach wouldn’t need high
bandwidth or a large number of SAN

“This absolutely makes sense for SMBs, or even for enterprises that have
branches or remote offices,” he says. “This product is a great starter track,
so SMBs can have an affordable solution to get virtualization or other SAN
projects off the ground more easily.” The PS4000 will also allow Corporate IT
Solutions access to smaller customers they wouldn’t have been able to approach
with other solutions, he says.

“And as our SMB customers grow, if they need additional capacity and
functionality, they can simply add a PS6000 into their infrastructure,” he says.

In tandem with the launch of the PS4000 series, Dell EqualLogic has released
enhancements to the PS series storage array management software. During a Webcast
held June 17 to discuss the launch, Brad Anderson, senior vice president of Dell’s
Enterprise Product Group, said the new software will be available to any new or
existing Dell/EqualLogic customers, as long as they have a valid support

The new PS series storage management software includes increased integration
with VMware virtualization deployments and will also add integration with
VMware’s vSphere 4.0 platform announced in May 2009.

“Aside from EMC, which owns part of
VMware, we are the first vendor to include these kinds of features and
integration with VMware ESX and vSphere 4.0,” Anderson

Dell also announced new ProConsult storage services, which will provide
Dell’s nearly 49,000 channel partners with greater opportunities to resell
optimization, planning and management services for storage environments, says
Greg Davis, Dell’s global channel chief.

The ProConsult Data Management service quickly diagnoses problems and
recommends storage solutions that help customers’ infrastructure be more
efficient, says Bob Skelley, global head of Dell’s Enterprise Architecture
certification group. The Data Management service can identify and eliminate
unused capacity, more quickly provision available storage, and strengthen
compliance with internal policies and external regulations, Skelley explains.

The ProConsult Disaster Recovery solution helps customers plan and implement
an effective and affordable DR program that makes the best use of existing and
new technologies, while also helping to allocate personnel resources and
streamline business processes, he says.

Three new next-generation enterprise servers—the T410, R410 and T710—round
out the new product launches from Dell, according to Greg Davis, Dell’s global
channel chief. Taken together, the new solutions and services will simplify
sales, deployment and management of virtualized data centers and storage
environments, making both Dell and its channel partners more profitable.

“With these launches, we’re aiming to bring new solutions that address the
needs we hear most from our partners: Make [solutions] easy to sell, simple to
get up and running, and help me do more, faster, with limited resources,” Davis