Dell EMC affirms commitment to both Unity, SC midrange lines

At Dell EMC World, while new product was announced for both the Unity and SC lines, the most important thing the company did in the midrange was publicly affirm its continued support for both lines.

LAS VEGAS – When Dell and EMC came together as Dell EMC last year, the companies emphasized that for two companies with a lot of products, there was relatively little head to head competition between them. One area where that was clearly not the case, however, was in midrange storage, where both companies had a strong legacy line. With Dell it was the SC series, formerly Compellent. With EMC it was the Unity series, as the former VNXe family had been rebranded in its upgrade last year.

“In this space, we clearly have two products, and the most important thing we had to do at this show is recommit to two products in the midrange space,” said Brian Henderson, Director, Midrange Product Marketing at Dell EMC. “We had to show the market that both these product lines have a place, and that we are committed to both of them.”

Henderson said that the company’s positioning of the two lines is akin to saying the one is like an iPhone, and one is like an Android and both have a place.

“Unity’s positioning is that it is extremely simple,” he said. “It is easy to install, easy to manage, and easy to support. That’s its whole design centre. It is designed for the person who is not a storage pro.”

“With the SC line, everything that it does is designed to lower costs automatically,” Henderson said. “SC also tends to be more of a hybrid – a mix of flask and disk, while Unity is more all-flash. 70 per cent of our all flash revenue in the mid-range is Unity, while only 30 per cent is SC, and that also reflects the fact that not everyone can afford even the entry price for all-flash in the mid to lower end of the market.”

Four new Dell EMC Unity All-Flash platforms were introduced at the event – the 350F, 450F, 550F and 650F.

“These models will get you 40 per cent more cores, and double the memory of their predecessors,” Henderson said. “There is also a new file system which is four times larger than before, inline file compression, and a very dense enclosure, where you have 80 drives in a 3U rack unit space.” They also feature iCDM with snapshot mobility and support for external encryption key management with Key Management Interoperability Protocol.

“There is also a simpler mapped RAID implementation which is an upgrade for existing customers,” he stated. “It makes it easy to add a single drive. You used to have to add a set. When it’s a large flash drive, that’s a big deal.”

Henderson had just been at a session with top channel partner Presidio, who said that they had been most impressed by the new inline compression as well as a new dynamic sparing feature.

“Partners also liked that we have made this super, super simple,” he said. “We had a beta customer who installed this, rack and stack, in 10 minutes.”

Henderson also indicated that notwithstanding the ruling in federal court three weeks ago, Dell EMC’s interpretation is that providing they use Dell EMC in front of Unity, they have a right to use the name. So they will do so going forward.

On the SC side, Dell EMC unveiled the SC5020, a replacement for its SC4020 array.

“The SC is affordable hybrid flash,” said David Goulden, Dell EMC’s President, “Compared to the 4020, it has twice the capacity [at 2 PB] and more than 50 per cent more IOPs. It costs less than 10 cents per GB.”

The SC5020 has 3x the bandwidth in a new 3U format featuring 30 internal drive bays, dual controllers, plus FC, iSCSI and direct-attach SAS connectivity.

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