Dell's blade data-centre-in-a-box 'much better than HP's'
More bladey than Miyamoto Musashi's umbrella stand
Dell is now shipping an EqualLogic storage blade array, and claiming it is much better than HP's equivalent product.
The idea is to converge blade form factor servers, storage and networking hardware inside a single rackmount enclosure or chassis that can be bought, installed and managed as a single system. This is easier to do than buying, installing and managing the components individually, and makes sense when you're buying lots of the stuff or need a single miniaturised data centre.
EqualLogic PS-M4110 storage blade array
Dell's M1000e chassis can contain PowerEdge blade servers, Force10 and PowerConnect network gear as well as the EqualLogic storage blades to provide an easy-to-buy, install and operate converged system, a mini datacentre-in-a-box according to Dell.
The EqualLogic PS-M4110 iSCSI blade array can have one or two controllers and up to 14 2.5-inch drives. Maximum capacity is 14TB if you go for 1TB slow drives. The detailed config options are here. There can be up to four storage blade arrays in the chassis and two of them can be in a group. Users can scale capacity outside the chassis linking to other EqualLogic arrays with up to 16 in a SAN group with more than 2PB of capacity.
There is all the usual good EqualLogic iSCSI storage stuff as you would expect.
The perceived competition is the HP StorageWorks D2200sb storage blade and Dell has commissioned a comparison report (pdf) from Principled Technologies that shows its PS-M41100 blade:
- has 55 per cent fewer storage configuration steps
- supports 48 per cent more users
- supports 42 per cent more users per watt
- has up to 96 per cent more usable capacity.
Dell also has a commissioned Forester Consulting report saying users want easier-to-use storage boxes, like this EqualLogic blade thingy.
We can expect more of this blade system idea, with other types of storage blades inside the chassis, and added software capabilities to manage them. ®
Presenting VSA as a viable alternative to their EQL blade solution is weak at best. What about option #3, the P4800? Haven't they heard of it before? Of course they have! It's been around for years.
You're giving Dell too much credit
I keep seeing Dell Equalogic is way ahead on performance, but where's the evidence ? If you want high availability then the Equalogic constrains you to a single enclosure as striping across enclosures would be bad from a HA perspective, so in reality each Equalogic box ends up as a SAN island,. Where I've seen them deployed they seem to breed like rabbits for precisely this reason. Whereas the HP Lefthand kit allows you to safely scale out across many more nodes in a cluster (albeit sacrificing capacity for availability as every data protection scheme does). Since the HP solution can safely scale out to many nodes, the cluster has much more CPU, bandwidth and spindles at its disposal and should outperform Dell in the real world. If you're just saying model A goes faster (disk for disk) than model B then you're not looking at the whole picture. I hear the HP solution is also much more capacity efficient on snapshots and replication, something in my experience Dell don't like to discuss.
Re: A step forward
Inner tray slides out for hot-swap.