Nov 252015
 

In Dell’s continuing effort to provide flash-based and hybrid-flash solutions for its ever-expanding client base, it has released additional iSCSI SAN units to meet this demand:

PS6100S-19.2TB

  • Provides 19.2TBs of raw capacity
  • 24 800GB SSD drives
  • 8GB backup cache
  • Four (4) 1GigE ports per controller
  • All-inclusive firmware, software, and advanced features

PS6100XS-26TB

  • Provides 26TBs of raw capacity
  • Contains 24 Drives: Seven (7) 800GB SSD drives and seventeen (17) 1.2TB 10K SAS drives
  • 8GB backup cache
  • Four (4) 1GigE ports per controller
  • All-inclusive firmware, software, and advanced features

These EqualLogic iSCSI SAN arrays, as well as all EqualLogic arrays, are available through self-service EqualLogic pricing. Dell EqualLogic also requires the purchase of a ProSupport agreement (Next Business Day, 4-Hour Mission Critical, etc.) along with Installation (I suggest Remote Installation…only costs $799) and Shipping & Handling. If you’re purchasing something this high-end, you want to make sure you have an iSCSI-optimized network switch (like a Dell PowerConnect 7024 or a Force10 S25N) to go along with it.

Nov 152013
 

While many storage managers and administrators continue to be the primary drivers into storage area networks and finding the best fit for their storage networks, we are starting to see some security network administrators give their “2 cents” when it comes to selecting a storage area network, whether it’s a Dell EqualLogic or a Dell Compellent SAN. “Why?” you might ask…? Aside from sheer boredom, more storage arrays are now shipping with self-encrypting drives, sometimes called SED drives.

How are these different from your standard NL-SAS, SAS, and / or SSD drives I might already finding on EqualLogic pricing or Compellent pricing…? Well, they’re really not…but essentially these self-encrypting drives are being built with a circuit that comes embedded into the disk drive controller chip.

What this essentially does is encrypt and decrypt the data that is put onto the magnetic media without any human intervention. In fact, the SED drives come factory-default on many HDD and SSD drives.

There’s really a lot more detail that goes into the SED drives such as password creation, etc., but we’re not going to bore you with all the finite details here. What’s important to note is that SED drives are relevant in preventing data loss while performance is not impacted. So next time you seek EqualLogic pricing or Compellent pricing on a Dell storage solution, ask if the drives have SED…the price is a bit more, but it could be worth it…

Oct 122013
 

Yup, you read that title right: EqualLogic CAN be used with Oracle databases and in Oracle environments. In fact, EqualLogic can be used for any relational database system. But because many – if not most – of the Oracle transactional workloads are IOPS-bound, EqualLogic SAN arrays are constructed to scale with this demand.

EqualLogic SANs have a “scale-out” architecture, so as you add additional EqualLogic arrays to an existing SAN group, you are also increasing cache memory and spindle count within the SAN. Plus, with features such as automated load balancing, which will see the “data volumes of the pre-existing workloads…automatically and non-disruptively distributed across the additional spindles, helping provide linear increases in performance and capacity.”

In addition to this, because Oracle is one of the largest technology partners with Dell, EqualLogic’s architecture also enables Oracle’s partitioning to be combined with EqualLogic’s online volume migration, “allowing Oracle partitions to be optimally placed and non-disruptively migrated between storage tiers.” Furthermore, the EqualLogic SAN also “automatically migrates hot blocks to solid state drives providing real-time automated tiering of Oracle workloads within partitions, in effect, at the sub-volume (sub-LUN) level.”

Bet you didn’t know that, did you…? And bet you didn’t know that the EqualLogic PS6000XVS hybrid SAS-SSD array was the winner of the InfoWorld 2010 Technology of the Year award…? Other vendors try to pull off a “hybrid” with Nearline SAS (NLSAS) or even SATA drives…yeah, SATA drives with SSD…? C’mon, give me a break. EqualLogic uses SAS with SSD to give you what you need. Really. EqualLogic pricing will reveal both the PS6100XS-13TB (1GigE) and the PS6110XS-13TB (10GigE) available for purchase right now. So before you go out and “look” at other options, realize that EqualLogic already has it all here…

More information on this topic can be found in the Dell EqualLogic Solution Brief entitled, “Affordable, powerful storage for Oracle database with Dell EqualLogic.”

Jul 262013
 

A Deeper Dive into Solid State Storage
Yeah, there’s some hype out there about solid state storage (SSS). No, I take that back…there’s a TON of hype out there around solid state storage. Why? Well, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of solid state drives (SSD) and where they might be used:

  • The main, primary benefit of using SSD over a spinning disk (HDD) is direct access
  • SSD flash memory does not require seek time (HDD does), resulting in higher transaction rates (IOPS) than HDD
  • An example of SSD vs HDD in IOPS:
    * 100 to 200 IOPS for HDD vs. 5,000 to 10,000 IOPS for SSD
  • A flash disk (SSD) can provide 40x better IOPS than a spinning disk (HDD)
  • SSD performs typically performs better for random workloads than sequential workloads
  • SSD read performance will typically be better than the write performance
    * SSD read speeds are normally 2x that of its write speeds
  • The cost per performance for SSD is much better for SSD (though the cost per TB is much better for HDD)
  • Power consumption for SSD is much better:
    * An SSD might use 1 watt while a HDD might use 10 watts
    * The power performance of an SSD is typically 1000s of IOPS/Watt vs. the performance of an HDD with only 10s of IOPS/Watt

Dell EqualLogic’s Answer to Solid State Storage and SSD
Does EqualLogic do SSD…? Of course! Dell EqualLogic is still the leader in the native iSCSI SAN marketplace, and EqualLogic pricing will reveal that it can do SSD in either a full SSD or a hybrid SSD solution:

1 Gigabit Ethernet

  • EqualLogic PS6100S-4.8TB (24x200GB SSD drives)
  • EqualLogic PS6100S-9.6TB (24x400GB SSD drives)
  • EqualLogic PS6100XS-13TB (7x400GB SSD with 17x600GB 10K SAS drives)

10GigE

  • EqualLogic PS6110S-4.8TB (24x200GB SSD drives)
  • EqualLogic PS6110S-9.6TB (24x400GB SSD drives)
  • EqualLogic PS6110XS-13TB (7x400GB SSD with 17x600GB 10K SAS drives)
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