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Dell goes on 10GbE binge

Unveils table laden with EqualLogic gear

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Update Dell has announced a slew of 10GbE products, including new EqualLogic arrays and firmware, server FCoE adapters, and switches.

The idea behind it is to provide end-to-end 10GbE linkage across the data centre covering servers, storage and network switches. There is an Infrastructure Manager to provision and manage application platforms combining compute, storage and network resources which we've described here.

The EqualLogic PS6000 line of iSCSI-access dual controller modular arrays has been given a redesigned controller with 10GbE support and a firmware refresh to v4.3.

First off, there are two new 10GBE models; the PS6010 and the PS6510, which augment the existing PS6000 and PS6500 boxes. As well as the tenfold increase in Ethernet port speed, Dell says these new products will have "up to two-and-a-half times more bandwidth per array than previous versions."

The 6010 comes in E form, with up to 16 1TB 7,200rpm SATA drives, and X form with 10K SAS drives. Likewise, the 6510 E uses the 1TB 7,200rpm SATA drives while the 6510X relies on 10K SAS drives for its performance edge. There is a PS6010XV which uses up to 16 faster 15K SAS drives, and a PS6010S which is fitted with solid state drives. Look for more info on Dell's website here.

A new PS6500X model is announced which uses the same 4U chassis form factor as the PS6500E, but fills it with up to 48 600GB 10K SAS drives - probably Seagate Cheetah NS.2 SAS drives with 6Gbit/s interfaces, although Dell isn't saying - taking total capacity to 28.8TB. SAN groups containing the EqualLogic PS6500X can now scale to more than 460TB of capacity per group, up from 115.2TB per group previously.

Because of the new firmware, the existing PS6500E, with up to 48 1TB 7,200rpm SATA drives, can now scale up to a 768TB in a SAN group.

Although there is a 10GbE infrastructure there isn't, yet, an end-to-end Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) infrastructure offering. Dell is offering FCoE Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) from QLogic for its servers. QLogic 8100 Series CNAs are now embedded in a range of Dell PowerEdge rack, tower and blade servers.

It's also announced two 10GbE switches. The PowerConnect 8024F is a 1U 10 GbE switch with 24 ports. Dell says it is ready for converged Ethernet environments and supports the EqualLogic family of products

It is also announcing the Brocade-sourced PowerConnect-B Series Switch, its first FCoE switch, with support for iSCSI and Converged Enhanced Ethernet. Despite this Dell server and switch FCoE support there is no FCoE support with the EqualLogic arrays. Neither is there any with the Dell CLARiiON CX4 arrays, although EMC is developing an FCoE UltraFlex I/O module for these arrays. It is expected next year and, presumably, Dell will adopt it.

Update

Dell says the new EqualLogic array firmware supports thin provisioning and auto-data movement between tiers of EqualLogic storage. Were it to offer FCoE support as well, it would then be pretty much be in the same ball park as Compellent, with whom it competes. ®

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