February 05, 2008, 10:03 AM — Acting immediately on its recent EqualLogic
acquisition, Dell on Monday announced a new line of network storage products
that the company claims are easy to install and manage.
Targeted at small to medium businesses, the Dell EqualLogic PS5000 Series of
arrays includes controllers, disks and chassis with 16-bay enclosures that are
scalable to store up to 192T bytes of data and execute up to 60,000 transactions
at once, said Brad Anderson, senior vice president of Dell's business product
group, at an event in San Francisco.
The product can be plugged into existing IT infrastructure and be up and running
rapidly, in some cases under an hour, Anderson said. It is also compatible with
existing EqualLogic systems.
The arrays operate over a SAN (storage area network) using the iSCSI (Internet
Small Computer System Interface) interconnect protocol to transfer data and
manage networked storage.
Because storage disks can be attached on the fly, system administrators don't
have to plan the amount of storage needed, saving money and resources in the
long run, said Praveen Asthana, director of enterprise storage at Dell.
On installation, software that comes with the arrays senses network topology,
conducts a system health check and ensures that components are fully functional
before serving up storage on a network. Software included with the array manages
virtualized storage environments to provide optimized performance, including
load balancing by shifting storage loads between arrays and by provisioning
data to prevent poor utilization of disks.
With remote replication capabilities over IP (Internet Protocol) networks,
the software enables continuous access to data, protecting potential data loss
from disaster or system failures, Anderson said.
Few SMBs have storage specialists on staff to set up and manage storage, so
it makes sense for them to adopt iSCSI arrays to consolidate disparate storage
environments that users can dip into for data access, said Mike Karp, senior
analyst at Enterprise Management Associates. Familiar technologies like IP communication
and the iSCSI interconnect protocol make iSCSI SAN products easy to install
and operate, Karp said.
In addition, the arrays make it easier for users to squeeze maximum value from
network storage, he said.
The initial products will come in three models. The EqualLogic PS5000E iSCSI
Array supports up to 16 SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) II drives
with up to 1T byte of storage per drive. The Dell EqualLogic PS5000XV and EqualLogic
PS5000X iSCSI arrays support up to 16 SAS (serial-attached SCSI) drives with
varying storage capacities.