Feeds

Dell kills 3-year-old object storage appliance line

Moves to software-only model

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Exclusive Dell is closing down its DX6000 object storage appliance product line just three years after starting it up. Its OEM'd Caringo software will be available through Dell’s Digital Download Store. But there are concerns that this move will tarnish Dell's reputation as an enterprise raised-floor data centre supplier.

Object storage places data in a storage space using a number computed from the data, the object, itself. This number becomes the object's address. When compared to file-folder addressing or block-level data access, giving the object an "address" means it will be easier to locate in a storage space which is holding billions, even trillions of objects. Object storage is the great hope of storage types who are cognisant of file system scalability and performance limitations in the massively expanding world of unstructured "Big Data".

DX6000 Video still

DX6000 video still.

The image above is a still from a DEll DX6000 video which was still available on its site at the time this story was written.

Object storage software using commodity hardware has been developed by startups like Amplidata, Caringo and Scality. EMC has its Atmos product line, HDS has its Hitachi Content Platform and NetApp has its StorageGRID, while HP has its own HP Labs-derived technology in development.

Object storage sales haven't been expanding fast enough for Dell, and it has thrown in the DX6000 hardware towel 37 months after rolling it out.

Dell spokesman Lon Levitan said:

We are changing the model for our object offering. To be clear, we are committed to supporting both our existing and future object storage customers. … we are moving from an OEM appliance model to a software-only model. The software will be available to order through Dell’s Digital Download Store, where it can be sold with and deployed on Dell servers.

The company explained why it was changing direction:

First, we felt that by de-coupling hardware and software, we’d be able to offer more timely software updates and full access to the Caringo software suite. Secondly, our customers really wanted flexibility on the hardware on which the object store was deployed. As opposed to a pre-configured appliance, we now can offer greater flexibility in solution design leveraging Dell servers uniquely configured to meet specific customer use cases and workloads, such as storage density and performance.
DX6012S storage node

DX6012S storage node.

Levitan added: "We are big fans of the software model. We think it offers maximum flexibility for our customers."

There is a suggestion that this move will adversely affect Dell's position as a technology innovator. Levitan said: "We believe our position as an innovator is quite strong. We’ve accomplished quite a lot in the past two years alone. (Think: EqualLogic Blade Array, Active Systems, Fluid File, moving from EMC to our own portfolio with stronger customer TCO.) While we continue to offer excellent performance and value in the SMB space, we’re also growing into larger enterprise, seen by the growing size of our sold Compellent implementations each quarter."

Dell's storage commitment is strong: "We are on track for 2013 to be a record year for Dell storage releases. You’ll see a number of announcements at Dell Enterprise Forum San Jose in June and more to come throughout the year. … We will continue to examine the best way to get our customers the best technology as soon as possible."

Dell is trying to become a private company again, with the reason given that it would potentially be better able to transform itself into an enterprise IT product, software and services-led company away from the prying eyes of Wall Street analysts, investors and quarterly reports.

The DX6000 product line closure, a sign of other possible changes, comes against a background of declining storage revenues for Dell, as the chart shows.

Dell quarterly storage revenues to April 2013

From a management personality point of view, the DX6000/Caringo OEM deal was a Darren Thomas-era event. Thomas has since left the helm of Dell's storage business, which is now the joint responsibility of Alan Atkinson and Pete Korce.

El Reg's supposition is that the DX6000 cancellation decision was made in the management layers between Alan and Pete and Marius Haas, president of Dell's enterprise solutions business.

Enterprise customers who committed to the DX6000 may well feel let down, notwithstanding Dell's continued support. But the product line is going nowhere. Having the software available through a digital download store, like any old phone or tablet app, might be handy for some, but could also imply a lack of strategic commitment from Dell's side. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?