It’s no secret that Dell has had a tumultuous year as a business, but with the privatization issue now settled, the company is able to focus on executing on its plan for the future. As a part of that effort, after a couple of years of only minor activity with regard to the EqualLogic line, Dell has overhauled the EqualLogic lineup to continue to play to that product’s strengths while also ensuring that the line keeps pace with modern developments in storage.
Introducing the EqualLogic PS6210 series
In December 2013, Dell introduced the six models of the PS6210 line of arrays. Four of the models in the lineup are traditional disk-based systems – two are focused on capacity and two on disk-based performance – and two are systems that leverage modern solid state disks to provide to EqualLogic customers a performance-focused solution. Some models also make available self-encrypting hard drives for organizations that are particularly security sensitive.
The list below provides a general overview of the six models that comprise the PS6210 series.
The last two models in the list are the units of most interest in the new lineup. The PS6210S is Dell’s all-flash EqualLogic array, while the PS6210XS takes a hybrid approach by providing a combination of solid state and traditional hard disks. These all-flash and hybrid approaches are being embraced with great success by many of today’s storage startups.
All of the new models feature dual controllers, each with 16 GB of RAM, as well as 10 GbE connectivity. EqualLogic also provides broad operating systems support.
Middle of the road performance is not necessarily a bad thing
Dell admits that the new EqualLogic PS6210 all-flash array is not going to win any speed awards against some of the smaller startups that have hit the scene in recent years. However, Dell feels that it’s “90% solution” is going to be good enough for most mainstream applications and that customers will feel better about dealing with a known quantity like Dell rather than with a startup that may not be around tomorrow. Further, due to its size, it’s probable that Dell can enjoy more significant economies of scale than some smaller players and may be able to offer lower costs as a result.
As much as I admire the startups and feel that they are disrupting storage, I understand why customers might be more comfortable working with Dell. As the old adage goes, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.” From a longevity standpoint, Dell is certainly the low risk player. However, bearing in mind that Dell knows it’s the 90% solution, for those with needs that surpass what Dell can provide, the startup players in the all-flash space are an impressive bunch with, I hope, very bright futures.
New software equals new opportunities
This is not the first time that Dell has made solid state disks available in the EqualLogic lineup. However, the PS6210 series was designed to better leverage solid state disks when compared to older models. Further, the EqualLogic software – version 7 – is now 64-bit and provides a new interface. The new software, combined with hardware advancements, makes the PS6210 series able to provide higher performance than with older models.
Action Item: CIOs looks for new storage options and that wish to stick with a tier 1 provider should give Dell’s newest lineup a look. While the solution may not be able to keep pace with some of the purpose-built offerings provided by startups, the equipment provides a 90% solution with flexible configuration offerings that can be easily matched to workload needs.