Jul 092013
 

Okay, so you’re an SMB (Small to Mid-Sized Business) with a pretty good idea of how much capacity you need, and you’ve also determined that you’re going to go 10GigE for your storage and computer network.

So, of course you’ve done some research and found that Dell offers the perfect solution in their EqualLogic PS4110 series…great! Now the hard part: Deciding which one to buy. Well, here’s a basic breakdown for you to help you decide:

Model Value Proposition Differentiation
PS4110E Low entry price point

Lowest $/TB in the PS4110 line

Highest capacity arrays in the PS4110 line

Capacity-oriented NL-SAS

12, 24, 36 TB (12 HDD)

7,200 RPM NL-SAS 3.5”

PS4110XV 3.5” Balance of cost, performance and capacity for enterprise data centers High-performance and Capacity SAS

7.2TB (12 HDD)

15K RPM SAS, 3.5”

Remember, you can only have two (2) PS4110 in a single group or logical SAN. This means that you can even have a PS4110E-36TB array in the same group as a PS4110XV-7.2TB where you dedicate your lower-end traffic to the PS4110E and your higher-end (database) traffic to your PS4110XV.

EqualLogic pricing for these units prices these very aggressively, even without any discounts…and with ProSupport plans spanning three, four, or even five years long, these 10GigE iSCSI SAN units can go a long way in providing the SMB with capacity and feature-rich SAN functionality for years.

Feb 022013
 

A very attractive draw for the Dell EqualLogic SAN has always been its fully redundant architecture…but one has to stop and think about what exactly that means. This is a question to not only pose for EqualLogic iSCSI SAN arrays but also any storage area network area out there in the industry that you might be investigating. Here’s a look at EqualLogic’s breakdown:

  • Dual Controllers – by default, EqualLogic SAN arrays come with two controllers; in EqualLogic’s early days, they did make some arrays as single controller to help reduce costs, but any EqualLogic arrays made now are always dual controller
    • Each controller comes with 4GB of memory and offers cache to flash (data protection reasons)
    • Each controller has multiple Ethernet ports
  • Hot Swappable Hard Disk Drives – each of the drives (NL-SAS, SAS, SSD, etc.) is hot swappable, which means you don’t have to power down the unit in order to swap out drives
  • Expansion for Grouping – depending on which array you purchase, you can group them into groups of two members (PS4100 / PS4110) or up to 16 members (PS6100 / 6110), creating and increasing processing power and management options
  • Enclosure Monitoring System – this is more software-based and includes:
    • Automatic spare configuration and utilization
    • SMART
    • Automatic bad block replacement
    • Auto-Stat Disk Monitoring System (ADMS) – constantly polls the health of data on disk drives
  • Multiple Management Interfaces – SAN HQ (see previous blog posting for details), SNMP, telnet, SSH, HTTP, Web (SSL), host scripting, serial console, multi-administrator support, and the ability to configure a separate management network
  • Dual Power Supplies and Cooling Fans – these are also hot swappable
  • Additional Redundant Features
    • Vertical port sharing
    • Individual disk drive slot power control

EqualLogic pricing includes all of the above features and hardware and more, at no additional cost. Everything is built into the price of the EqualLogic SAN solution and must be maintained with one of its ProSupport packages to ensure continued protection of your EqualLogic SAN for years to come.

Nov 022012
 

A few weeks ago, Dell EqualLogic released its new EqualLogic pricing sheets. Here’s a quick summary of the major changes and what to now expect for EqualLogic pricing:

Pre-Sales ProSupport
With every EqualLogic SAN, a ProSupport package must be purchased…this much we know. Previous to the recent changes, it was common to have 1, 3, 4, and 5-year ProSupport options at your EqualLogic pricing disposal for all three ProSupport packages (Mission Critical, Non-Critical with Same Day Response, and Non-Critical with Next Business Day Response).

The 1-Year option has been eliminated, so the minimum term can be three (3) years of ProSupport. All ProSupport options have stayed the same, but when getting EqualLogic pricing be sure to ask Dell or your Dell reseller to break out the ProSupport pricing so you know exactly how much you’re paying for that ProSupport option.

PS4100 and PS4110 Reductions
For both the PS4100 series (Gigabit) and the PS4110 series (10GigE), many of the SAS units have been removed from the current price list and are now considered End of Sale. Examples of such units that were removed from the EqualLogic pricing lists include many of the units that were perceived as overlap to the EqualLogic PS6100 and PS 6110 series of arrays, particularly in the SAS side.

The only SAS model that is now available for the PS4100 series is the PS4100XV-7.2TB array (with 3.5” drive size), and the same capacity size also applies to the 10GigE series with the PS4110XV-7.2TB (with 3.5” drive size) being the sole survivor. There still might be inventory for some of these recently End of Sale’d units, but only inquire on these units if you have the ability to procure these units immediately as inventory on these is running out fast.

May 302012
 

You may have noticed that Dell’s new EqualLogic SAN product line no longer contains the traditional SATA drives most often reflected in the past “E” series like the formerly active PS4000E, PS5000E, and PS6000E series. The newer generation of EqualLogic – such as the PS4100E, PS4110E, PS6100E, PS6110E, PS6510E and other EqualLogic “E” product lines – now contains the Nearline SAS drives, more commonly termed NL SAS.

So, why the move away from SATA to NL SAS?

In general, NL SAS drives are built to address more of the enterprise-level storage environments and applications. NL SAS tends to have a higher MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) rate, averaging about 1.2 million hours MTBF, and it tends to be just as cost effective from a cost per Gigabyte perspective as a traditional SATA drive would be.

While the NL SAS drives tend to come in flavors of 5.4K and 7.2K RPM drives, they are known to “(combine) the head, media, and rotational speed of traditional enterprise class SATA drives with the fully capable SAS interface typical of 10K/15K RPM SAS drives.” Essentially you’re getting the best of both worlds (SATA and SAS). Plus, compared to SATA drives, the interface is about 30% faster as well.

Faster drives…better cost…more uptime and reliability…? Sounds like a recipe for EqualLogic iSCSI SAN success if you ask me. EqualLogic pricing is available on all EqualLogic SAN models, including those with NL SAS for both Gigabit and 10GigE arrays.

 Posted by at 10:21 am
May 172012
 

(Author’s Note: This is a bit off-topic for this blog but we thought since it came directly from Michael Dell’s tweet stream we should repost it here. For more information on this program, email Tony G.)

– Promotional offer enables customers to manage their budget with fixed monthly payments and a zero-percent $1 buyout lease on all EqualLogic storage equipment
– The promotion is the first zero-percent financing offer available to Dell channel partners

Dell Financial Services (DFS) is offering zero percent financing on Dell’s award winning EqualLogic storage systems for growing businesses feeling the pressure of data growth. With the offer, small and medium businesses have access direct from Dell and through trusted partners to highly virtualized storage technology that scales with their business, enabling them to manage and store critical data as they grow.

The Zero-Percent EqualLogic promotion helps small and medium businesses manage their growing data storage needs while preserving their capital for sales, marketing and R&D. Dell EqualLogic arrays, regardless of generation, work together to automatically manage data, load balance across all resources and scale as business demands change. A recent analysis by analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group found Dell EqualLogic systems have the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO).Today’s offer includes a zero percent $1 buyout lease on a 36-month term on all EqualLogic storage equipment. Dell Financial Services helps customers manage their budget with fixed monthly payments.

“The number of devices, data movement and usage makes storage a crucial component of accommodating business growth. However, access to capital remains an obstacle for many small and medium businesses looking to scale their IT infrastructures, “said Erik Reichman, vice president and general manager, Dell Financial Services for Small and Medium Business. “With Dell Financial Services, we eliminate a key barrier for customers who can now move forward on long delayed purchases.”

Dell Financial Services understands customers’ technology needs. DFS delivers customized payment solutions to better manage cash flow. In addition, DFS financing experts are seamlessly integrated into Dell’s sales process making financing Dell technology a hassle-free experience.

“Finding capital-efficient technical solutions that speed time to market while providing scale and leverage is the holy grail for entrepreneurs,” said Lauren Flanagan, Executive Chairman, Current Motor. “Thanks to Dell Financial Services we can use our capital for sales, marketing and R&D. We can grow faster this way.”

Zero Percent Promotional Financing from Dell Financial Services a Dell Channel First

The Zero-Percent EqualLogic promotion is the first zero-percent offer for the Dell partner channel, making it easier for Dell small and medium business channel partners who are storage certified to help their customers acquire business-critical storage. Dell is committed to being a long-term partner for the channel community and is using this offering to set the standard for integration of Dell Financial Services with the PartnerDirect community.

“Dell’s storage solutions, based on the Fluid Data Architecture, enable the right data to be available at the right time for efficient and rapid access and analysis,” said Brian Garrett, vice president, ESG Labs. “This offer makes it easier for small and medium businesses to address not only the technology pain point, but also the business pain point of cash flow. Dell is also recognizing how important channel partners are to their SMB customers by making this offer available through them.”

“The Zero-Percent Dell Financial Services EqualLogic offering is a sign of our commitment to making it easy for our partners to work with Dell, enabling them to help growing businesses store their data while providing a flexible way to manage their budget with fixed monthly payments,” added Greg Davis, vice president and general manager Dell Global Commercial Channel.

Pricing and Availability

The Zero-Percent EqualLogic offering is a 36-month zero percent $1 Buyout lease on all EqualLogic storage components[ii] with no minimum purchase amounts necessary and runs through August 3, 2012. The $1 buyout lease gives customers a predictable budget with fixed payments through the end-of-lease term and equipment ownership. In addition, equipment may qualify for a standard depreciation schedule (tax treatment).

For more information, email Tony G.

 Posted by at 8:19 am
Apr 252012
 

Dell recently announced a lower EqualLogic price across the board for it’s line of mid-tier storage. We’re not sure if it is meant to create a sharper contrast between the new, higher performing Compellent line or is a response to new entrants into the storage market like Coraid, Starboard Storage and Nexgen Storage. Regardless of the reason, we’re glad to see Dell is making their turnkey EqualLogic products more affordable.

 Posted by at 8:22 am
Dec 282011
 

With the new release of PS Firmware Revision 5.1, Dell introduced more advanced data management options. At the core are 3 load balancing layers that ensure high-performance while balancing capacity value. This post describes the 3 layers and how they can be applied.

EqualLogic Load Balancers in PS Series Pools

When you initialize the first array and create a PS series group, a default pool is automatically established. After adding an array to the group, it is referred to as a member of the group. All members are initially placed into the default pool, and administrators subsequently deploy volumes from this pool. It is within a pool that resources such as network bandwidth, disk capacity, and I/O are balanced automatically. Multiple pools can be created to isolate volumes and separate members. This may be done for a variety of reasons, including technical (e.g. placing specific application data on resources such as SSD) or business reasons (e.g. ensuring that legal department data is isolated from the data from other departments.) With more than one pool administrators can initiate moving volumes or members between the pools seamlessly, with no downtime to the applications. Within a pool, Dell’s EqualLogic PS Series is designed to automate the placement of data to maximize the utilization of the resources that the customer has chosen for their SAN.

There are three load balancers that operate within a pool:

  • The NLB (Network Load Balancer) manages the assignment of individual iSCSI connections to Ethernet ports on the pool members
  • The CLB (Capacity Load Balancer) manages the utilization of the disk capacity in the pool
  • The APLB (Automatic Performance Load Balancer) manages the distribution of high I/O data within the pool.

How the Network Load Balancer (NLB) Works

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:34 am