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Dell's new Compellent will make you break down in tiers... of flash

FS8600 pops hottest data into the fastest slots

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Dell thinks its Compellent arrays will be more compelling with automated tiering extended to different types of flash, policy-driven deduplication and namespace expansion added to the filesystem, and more drives in a smaller space.

The storage boxes' new Storage Center 6.4 software can handle flash tiering and distinguish between fast SLC and slower, less-expensive MLC solid state drives (SSDs).

Disk, SLC and MLC drives can be intermixed in a Compellent storage array enclosure. SSD-enhanced Compellent arrays can provide up to 300,000 IOPS, and 100,000 IOPS in a 70/30 read/write access mix.

Compellent director of product marketing Bob Fine said that by having such differentiation between flash tiers, customers could save a lot of money. Instead of having all their most-active data on expensive SLC flash they could put high-access-rate data on the SLC SSD and the rest of the active data on MLC. The cost could be as little as a quarter, he says, of other SSD-enhanced arrays available on the market.

Compellent arrays can now come in all-disk, hybrid SSD-disk, or all-SSD configurations for the highest IO workloads.

The arrays get a higher density SC280 drive enclosure holding up to 84 drives - that's 336TB using 4TB drives - in a 5U space. The 960 drive count maximum is unchanged, but the physical space needed is reduced, by 2.8 times compared to traditional 3.5in drive enclosures, according to Fine.

Data Progression, Compellent's automated data placement technology, can now run on demand. It can move relatively inactive SLC flash data to MLC, then to and through disk tiers with the super-dense enclosure providing low-access and bulk capacity at low cost.

Dell's Fluid FS v3.0 filesystem expands twofold, supporting up to a 2PB namespace, and can juggle policy-driven, variable block-sized deduplication and compression that can deliver up to 50 per cent data reduction through its post-process operation.

This will all be available with the Compellent FS8600 product later in the year. Fine claimed this is the industry's first policy-driven deduplication software. You can set it to run on the file population, for example, with reference to the date and time the file was last modified or at a certain time of day. This is post-process deduplication and Fine says it uses an optimised algorithm compared to the one used in the DR4000 backup system, although based on the same Ocarina technology.

Fluid FS v3.0 also supports two extra protocols: NFS v4.0 and SMB v2.1.

EqualLogic arrays now get SupportAssist in v2.6 of the SAN HeadQuarters software, with similar Copilot-type proactive monitoring support as Compellent arrays have. Customers can be alerted about fixes to problems before they realise the problem exists.

Dell is also extending its Hadoop capabilities and testing IDH (Intel's Distribution of Hadoop). It says "Dell Crowbar currently includes integration to Hadoop and will integrate with IDH when Dell launches an IDH-based solution this year."

Crowbar, a configuration tool, integrates with Dell's Cloudera Hadoop offering and Dell will provide support "for Cloudera Search for Hadoop to enable less technical users to ask questions of big data more easily and quickly".

Fine said Dell Compellent storage people are very excited about the news being announced: "It validates Dell's storage approach … the future is brighter than what we saw in the past."

Storage Center 6.4, flash tiering (termed Flash Optimised Solution) and the SC280 enclosure should be available in the third quarter. The Fluid File System v3.0 should deliverable in the fourth quarter. ®

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