Dell emphasizes SMB with new all- flash array, and hybrid EqualLogic entry level offerings

The Dell Storage SC 4020 all-flash array is a less expensive follow-up to Dell's Flash Optimized Solution from last year, while the PS4210, which replaces the PS4110 and PS4100 in the Dell EqualLogic lineup, is targeted at the entry-level customer, but has some other market potential.


Travis Vigil, Dell’s Executive Director Storage

AUSTIN – Today at Dell World, Dell announced its new storage solutions, and there was a definite SMB flavor to the announcements. They introduced a new Dell Storage SC Series all-flash array configuration with a $USD 25,000 price tag. They announced a new EqualLogic PS series array for smaller deployments, the PS 4210 series, which is the first hybrid offering in the entry level PS series. Finally, the Dell XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances, which combines Dell hardware and Nutanix software, and which is aimed more at mid-sized and larger companies, is now available.

“There is a fair degree of SMB here in these announcements, but we do have a wide swath of customers who will be interested in these different solutions,” said Travis Vigil, Dell’s Executive Director Storage.

Vigil said Dell sees two different types of deployment scenarios for storage today.

“There are those that want to continue to evolve their current IT systems, and those that are looking for choice and value in a new approach with new methods of delivery – more a software-defined datacenter approach,” he said. “We see both of these happening, and our news today addresses both of these customer types.”

The new Dell Storage SC 4020 all-flash array is a less expensive follow-up to the Flash Optimized Solution Dell introduced last year. It is an entry-level all-flash product, targeted at cost-sensitive customers who are still using spinning disk storage because it is less expensive than previous all-flash solutions from Tier One vendors.

“The starting price for the 4020 configuration is $25,000,” Vigil said. “This puts Dell in a position to have the lowest cost all-flash array from a major vendor.”

“This translates into a $15,000 street price, which is very, very aggressive,” said Dell CEO Michael Dell to the Dell partner symposium at Dell World. “This is a great opportunity to light up that base of EqualLogic users.”

The lower price comes in part from the SC 4020’s use of all-read drives, compared to the Flash Optimized Solution’s blend of read and write drives.

“It has six 480 GB read intensive drives, while our Flash Optimized Solution offering uses a Compellent algorithm using both read and write drives to give the best possible capacity and ability to tier down,” Vigil said. “We have many customers with less demanding requirements who can get the reliablity and performance they need from just using read intensive drives. As they scale, they can add in write intensive drives.

“This is based on the success of that Flash Optimized solution and builds on its tiered architecture, but it works where it just has the six read drives,” Vigil added. “It is lower performance than the Flash Optimized Solution, but it is also designed to be a starting point.”

The SC 4020 all-flash array is scheduled to ship early in the coming calendar year.

The other new all-Dell solution is the Dell Storage PS4210 Series, a product that Dell is branding as being for smaller deployments. The PS4210, which replaces the PS4110 and PS4100 in the Dell EqualLogic lineup, is also targeted at the entry-level customer, as is the entire PS portfolio. But while the SC 4020 is pretty much a pure SMB play, Vigil said the PS4210 is more versatile.

“This is a complete platform refresh for the small EL iSCSI storage array, for people who want high performance in a smaller deployment.” Vigil said. “Most of the customers be SMBs looking for entry level primary storage, but it is strong in the upper end of the SMB and the lower end of the midmarket.” It’s also a strong remote office option.

The PS4210 is the first hybrid flash and HDD offering in the PS series, which significantly upgrades its performance over the models it replaces.

“Compared to the previous generation, it also doubles the memory in the controllers, and has twice the number of 10 GbE ports,” Vigil said. “It is the first time in this class of product we have a hybrid flash array with spinning media, SSDs, and algorithms to tier, and it all means a 6x performance increase over the previous generation.”

The PS 4210 series is ready now and is shipping today.

Dell’s third storage announcement is the availability of its Dell XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances, which utilizes Nutanix software, and which combines compute, storage, hypervisor, and a VM compute platform into a single offering. The XC series was announced in June to considerable anticipation.

“This is a key addition to our portfolio, and we have seen a large degree of customer interest since we made the announcement” Vigil said. “Nutanix is the leader in Web-scale converged appliances, and they are a perfect fit for Dell since the basis of the appliance is an x86 server. It’s a Dell branded appliance with a PowerEdge server powered by their software.” He indicated that the target market for the XC series is both medium and large sized companies.

“It is a modular building block to build out hyper-converged architecture, and there are five different models, each optimized for a different workload type,” Vigil said. “VDI will be a primary workload, and the XC is certified for both VMware and Citrix, It is also ideal for private clouds, since it is heterogeneous in hypervisor support. In addition, it is well suited as an all-in-one for branch offices, and disaster recovery is also a great use case.”

While Nutanix has done well with its own branding, Dell believes that having its brand on the Nutanix software will greatly expand its appeal.

“Having Dell build it and warranty it around the globe, to be the core partner and make sure it works well, is important,” said Marius Hass, Dell’s chief commercial officer and president of enterprise solutions. “We are bringing it to the masses at price points and performance levels that are phenomenal.”

The Dell XC series will ship in a week.