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.”

Oct 042013
 

The Dell EqualLogic iSCSI SAN has always had a very strong relationship with all of the major technology partners in the industry, including Microsoft. It’s no wonder that the Dell EqualLogic SAN continues to build off of and enhance Microsoft environments. Today let’s take a look at what the EqualLogic SAN can do for Microsoft in regard to leveraging it using the EqualLogic Auto-Snapshot Manager / Microsoft Edition (aka EqualLogic ASM/ME).

Let’s face it: Every organization has varying levels of standards they need to meet, and some organizations even have SLAs in place – service level agreements. If you have Microsoft – and chances are you do – you want to make sure the iSCSI storage solution you have in place can easily and quickly protect and backup your Microsoft SQL, Exchange, and Hyper-V applications in a spur of the moment. According to Dell’s website, using the EqualLogic Auto-Snapshot Manager (Microsoft edition) can provide:

  • “Streamlined operations through a simple, intuitive wizard that can run on a physical server or virtual machine
  • Accelerated deployment via full integration with Microsoft VSS, Hyper-V integration services, MCSC, CVS and Live Migration
  • Streamlined backup and rapid restoration of Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines, Microsoft SQL and Exchange server applications
  • Reduced server overhead and enhanced performance using SAN-based snapshots
  • Simpler operations with easy-to-use, built-in snapshot scheduler that provides ongoing protection while minimizing required disk space
  • All-inclusive software features with Dell EqualLogic iSCSI SANs — no additional software license required to implement Auto-Snapshot Manager/Microsoft Edition”

The interoperability between Dell EqualLogic and Microsoft has been tested and certified, and it is also one of Dell’s Business Ready Configurations. The cost? No additional cost…it’s all part of the complete EqualLogic pricing model.

 

References:

Equallogic auto snapshot manager/microsoft edition | microsoft vss framework. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.dellstorage.com/data-protection/data-protection-and-recovery/microsoft-vss/asm-me.aspx

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)
Jul 172013
 

Frankly, it doesn’t make sense. EqualLogic has been shipping product for almost ten (10) years now and is the undisputed leader in pure iSCSI SAN solutions in the entire industry. But if you’ve been an EqualLogic SAN client for a number of years now, you want to ask yourself a few questions before you even consider looking beyond an EqualLogic SAN:

  • Have I kept my ProSupport agreements current, renewed, and up-to-date?
  • Have I brought my EqualLogic arrays up to the current code?
  • Have I updated my EqualLogic arrays with any and all appropriate security patches?
  • Have I reached out to my local EqualLogic rep or spoken with my EqualLogic reseller in the past six (6) months for the purpose of getting a technology refresh on EqualLogic?
  • Have I reached out to my noted team above for a Dell EqualLogic roadmap presentation for new products and / or features that will enhance my business environment?

Let’s face it, we’re all busy…and you’re right, that’s no excuse for not hearing from your Dell EqualLogic team. However, you bought your EqualLogic SAN for a reason…perhaps multiple reasons. One of the hot topics nowadays is the issue of integrated backups into your SAN, so before going down that road here are some questions to ask in regard to this (taken from Dell’s own product positioning team):

  • Do you want to risk losing your backups if the primary storage has a bug or there’s a human error?
  • If your backup and recovery solution is poor, how will you easily find a particular file to recover and restore it?
  • What kind of data is taking up the most space?

Thinking about expanding your EqualLogic SAN…? Updated EqualLogic pricing is available and now easier to configure than ever before.

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.