Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Dell Expands Cloud, Flash Array Offerings 

Dell today unveiled enhancements to both cloud and flash storage products designed to increase adoption of both technologies across enterprises.

Dell Software's latest iteration of Dell Cloud Manager supports Windows Azure Pack and Microsoft Azure public cloud, plus other leading public and private clouds; a custom catalog capability designed to reduce deployment time for curated applications and services across clouds, and a new automated scaling and recovery feature to enhance a console for centralized management of distributed cloud applications and services across multiple infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds, the company said.

C-level executives want to leverage cloud as part of their strategic advantage yet often don't have a unified strategy for their cloud deployments, said George Hadjiyanis, senior director of sales and marketing for cloud management at Dell, in an interview.

"Companies are really challenged for having a unified strategy," he said, "which impacts their ability to grow, be more efficient."

Today, 52 percent of North American enterprises use two or more public cloud providers, according to a Forrester Research study conducted for Dell. As a result, IT departments grapple with multiple interfaces and functionalities, and limited visibility into both IT-purchased and shadow IT cloud implementations, the report found.

"One thing the custom catalog lets them do is package up their existing cloud resources in a format that's very easily digestible by end-users," Marissa Brandt, head of product strategy for Dell Cloud Manager, told Enterprise Technology. "The idea is we can grant an IT organization visibility and control while still keeping the flexibility of self-service, the idea those customers went to shadow IT in the first place. I think it's part of the mainstreaming of cloud in the first place."

Dell Cloud Manager v11, which is designed to complement existing Azure, WAP, and other public and private cloud services, offers an environment that encourages the operation of today's complex cloud applications via self-service portals and automation, an approach that embraces cloud while incorporating IT, Brandt said. It is available on-premises or can be managed and hosted by Dell.

The solution also features granular, role-based access controls for those applications deployed and operated through Dell Cloud Manager so administrators can regulate usage. To ensure departments do not overspend, the update includes budget controls with alerts.

Developers can build applications across an array of operating systems, middleware, and supporting services, and manage apps across multiple cloud service instances. Dell Cloud Manager supports many public and private IaaS clouds including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine, Joyent, ScaleMatrix, CloudStack, OpenStack, vSphere, Virtustream, and Windows Azure Pack, Dell said.

In a Flash

Dell also took the wraps off new enterprise flash drives that, the vendor says, deliver up to 24x performance improvement and the same price for capacity as 15,000 hard disk drives. Dell Storage SC Series arrays now use Mainstream Read-Intensive (RI) SSDs based on Triple Level Cell (TLC) 3D NAND technology, coupled with previously available flash and hard disk drive (HDD) solutions, that deliver lower than ever flash price-per-performance and higher storage density across all array segments, according to Dell.

"Dell’s unique intelligent data placement strategy allows different types of flash storage—SLC, MLC and TLC—to be efficiently deployed in multiple tier architectures that can be more cost-effective than single tier flash-based arrays," said Eric Burgener, research director, storage systems at IDC, in a statement. "Dell’s announcement of flash drives built on TLC 3D NAND technology puts them in the storage density lead at 45TB per rack unit for flash-based arrays and drops the dollar per gigabyte cost of enterprise flash storage to roughly the same cost as 15K RPM HDDs—with significantly higher performance. Cost has been the single biggest stumbling block to flash adoption in the data center, and Dell’s announcement of a new lower dollar per gigabyte price point for all-flash configurations enables the use of flash technology across an even greater variety of enterprise workloads."

The Dell Storage SC4020 now can cost as little as $1.66 per gigabyte, street price, and as low as 58 cents per gigabyte for typical mid-tier hybrid flash configurations, the developer said. Dell's pricing does not include deduplication or other data-reduction scaling factor, although the company applied these factors to competitors' products, Travis Vigil, executive director of Dell Storage, told Enterprise Technology.

"The growth of flash adoption has been one of the hottest topics in enterprise storage for the past couple of years," he said. "Customers like the performance capabilities of flash, the fact they need less power and cooling, [and] the small form factor. To date, what we've seen as the primary drawback was cost."

By developing a flash option that's competitively priced to HDD, Dell expects to over-ride any remaining hurdles to flash adoption, Vigil said. But if a price war breaks out, if HDD (or other flash vendors) drop their prices to compete with Dell's newest offering, Dell expects its latest storage product's features to deliver another layer of competition, he noted.

"From my perspective, while this is about price and better economics for our customers, the key thing is our architecture allows us to incorporate these new kinds of drive," said Vigil. "Because of the way we use optimization, we can offer a new blend of performance and reliability; that's the key differentiator for us. With these new drives, it's not only dollars per gig. It's also density."

Dell combines its Data Progression intelligent data placement technology and Dell Storage Center 6.6 array software to enable its Storage SC Series arrays to use new Mainstream RI flash drives based on TLC 3D NANO. These drives are described as the industry's lowest cost per gigabyte, highest density flash drives; the flash-optimized Data Progression software is designed to leverage flash technologies to create lower cost, higher performance solutions. By melding Mainstream RI flash drives with high-performing Write-Intensive (WI) flash drives, intelligent array software automatically directs writes to higher endurance flash and manages writes to lower cost Mainstream RI drives, lowering the overall cost and improving performance, Vigil said.

Dell's news drives include the Dell Storage SC8000, SC4020 and SCv2000 Series with hybrid flash or all-flash array configurations. Storage SC8000 arrays can support up to 62 percent more flash, up to 3 petabytes of raw flash capacity in one array, Dell said.

Dell's new flash drives, available in capacities up to 3.8 terabytes, are slated to ship in August.

 

 

 

 

 

About the author: Alison Diana

Managing editor of Enterprise Technology. I've been covering tech and business for many years, for publications such as InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, and Florida Today. A native Brit and longtime Yankees fan, I live with my husband, daughter, and two cats on the Space Coast in Florida.

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