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Dell aims to address the pain points of enterprise storage

19 Nov 2012
Dell Active System

While Dell has promoted its Fluid Data strategy before, the company detailed at its Dell Storage Forum in Paris how it is gradually migrating its PowerVault, EqualLogic and Compellent storage platforms to be based on its latest PowerEdge server hardware.

At the same time, Dell has been cross-fertilising the software that drives each platform with capabilities it has gained from its acquisition spree of storage firms over the last couple of years.

The result is that all three platforms support the Fluid File System Dell inherited from Exanet, along with deduplication, thin provisioning and self-healing capabilities, plus a common management layer.

What this means is that customers can start off with some entry-level PowerVault hardware, and add in high-end Compellent systems at some future date, should their data storage needs expand to this level.

"The real news today is Dell's dedication to the concept of better together," said Darren Thomas, vice president of Dell's storage business, speaking at the Dell event last week.

"Whether a customer comes in at the low end or the top end of our storage portfolio, certain capabilities are there, such as self-protecting storage and the Fluid File system. And we're one of the only firms with server, networking and storage technologies. Customers are starting to see the benefits of better together."

However, while Dell's storage controller hardware is now based on its PowerEdge server chassis, this does not mean that its storage lines are all the same, as the firm was at pains to point out.

"They are different technologies with different capabilities, so although they are all using x86, the Compellent products have more powerful processors and greater memory. While you could run Storage Center on PowerVault hardware, it wouldn't give satisfactory performance," Robin Kuepers, Dell enterprise marketing director for Western Europe, told V3.

According to Kuepers, customers for the low-end products are typically on fixed budgets and simply want the most storage capacity for their money, while high end customers want all the features that Dell offers on the Compellent platform.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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