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Dell replaces entry-level EqualLogic boxes

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Dell has replaced the PS5000 entry point to its EqualLogic iSCSI storage arrays with the PS4000. It is also announcing a new NX3000 network-attached storage (NAS) box.

The EqualLogic line, which has recorded stunning sales results recently, consisted of the PS6000 and PS5000.

The PS6000 was announced in March and features a faster CPU than the PS5000, double the memory and cache and support for solid state drives (SSDs). The PS5000 was announced in February last year, shortly after Dell bought EqualLogic. The PS product line includes one or two controllers, snapshots, thin provisioning and replication together with fast and simple set-up.

Although Dell hasn't announced the demise of the PS5000, the PS4000's speeds and feeds render the PS5000 generally redundant, with one exception. The 48-SATA drive PS5500E, the high-capacity 48TB model, has no PS4000 equivalent.

There are three PS4000 models, all available now and all with 16 bays. The low-end PS4000E can have 8 or 16 7,200rpm SATA drives and up to 16TB capacity, the same as the PS5000E. The PS4000X features 16 10,000rpm SAS drives and a 9.6TB maximum capacity using 400GB drives. From July Dell will make 450GB and 600GB drives available. This product compares to the 16 X 10K SAS drive PS5000X and its maximum 6.4TB capacity.

The PS4000XV has faster 15K SAS drives, again 16 of them, in 300 or 450GB form and maxing out at 7.2TB. This compares to the older PS5500XV with the same speed SAS drives and a maximum 4.8TB capacity. All three PS4000 models support up to 256 volumes and 128 snapshots per volume. Host connectivity is through two GbitE copper or one 10/100 BitE copper cable per controller.

Two PS4000s can be combined into a SAN group and capacity can be further scaled out, Dell says, by adding PS6000s. It didn't say you could do this by adding PS5000s. The PS4000 can be used by small and medium business, and for branch offices with data replicated to a central PS6000 for disaster recovery. PS4000 contents are protectable with RAID 5, 6, 10 and 50 arrangements. The line supports the Advanced Multi-Path I/O functionality in vSphere 4.0, meaning there can be storage I/O load balancing with the virtual machine (VM) host. They also support VMware VM backup and restore.

Prices start with the PS4000E at €14,300 ($10,000) for a single controller, 8 x 250GB drive configuration.

The NX3000, of which details are in short supply, is a new in-house Dell NAS product, and not one based on EMC's Celerra, which Dell rebadges as the NX4. The NX3000 is a PowerVault 3000 server-based appliance, bundled with disks and software, and can act as a NAS gateway to a PS6000 or PS4000 SAN. It is apparently shipped with deduplication software.

Dell's current top-of-the-line in-house NAS box is the $17,800 NX1950 featuring NAS and Fibre Channel and iSCSI SAN protocol support, with from 6TB to 18TB capacity using MD1000 SAS storage enclosures. ®

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