Dell upgrades PowerStore Software and unveils entry-level PowerStore 500 model

Both the new OS 2.0 software download availability, and the PowerStore 500 ship date are June 10.

Today, Dell Technologies is making a pair of announcements relating to their Dell EMC PowerStore line, the mid-range storage offering Dell first announced just under a year ago. They have enhanced the software with its 2.0 release, producing up to 25% more IOPS for better workload performance. They have also added new features, like an NVMe over Fibre Channel option, new scale-out and appliance clustering capabilities for AppsON, and new DRE dual parity. In addition to the improved software, the company also announced the PowerStore 500, which is intended to extend the PowerStore line and its enterprise-grade technology into even smaller or more cost-conscious midmarket customers.

“We are announcing some pretty important enhancements for our PowerStore Product line,” said Travis Vigil, SVP Product Management, Dell Technologies Storage and Data Protection. “It has been just about a year since we launched, in the middle of a global pandemic. The product has done very well in the market, becoming the fastest-ramping new architecture in our company’s history. We have shipped over 400 PB of effective capacity and in our last quarter, fiscal Q4, we had a 4x Quarter on Quarter growth in terms of revenue, with 20% of those customers being new to Dell storage. We have returned Dell midrange storage to growth with PowerStore.”

Dell is highlighting the fact that the PowerStore software upgrade improves workload performance by up to 25% and adds major new features with no disruption at all to customer operations.

“It is a major new software update with more speed and intelligent automation, and existing customers get it through a free non-disruptive upgrade,” said Jon Siegal, VP of ISG Product Marketing.

The enhancements begin with that massive speed boost for every PowerStore model, with up to up to 25% faster mixed workloads and 65% faster writes.

PowerStoreOS 2.0 now supports NVMe over Fabric – even though most customers aren’t likely there yet.

“It allows customers to take full advantage of NVMe with the NVMe over Fabric software upgrade,” Siegal said. “Whether customers have immediate plans for it or not, this shows our commitment to investment protection for modern technologies. If customers already have 32 GB-capable switches and HBAs, they wont even need new equipment.”

Out of the gate, PowerStore’s built-in VMware ESXi hypervisor allowed applications to run directly on the appliance with its AppsON feature, for better performance, mobility and workload consolidation.

“Now we have added the ability to cluster multiple appliances running AppsON, for greater scalability,” Siegal said.

Intelligence has also been increased over multiple areas.

“We are making a lot of capabilities smarter,” Siegal said. “We can now optimize for capacity and performance at the same time, and optimize IO and deprioritize dedupe until the load lightens, without reducing our 4-1 data reduction goal.” This optimization of performance and capacity, which provides 20% more IOPS during peak bursts, is fully automated.

“We have made our DRE [Dynamic Resiliency Engine] even smarter to safeguard against drive failures,” Siegal added. “With the addition of DRE dual parity, you can now choose between single or dual parity redundancy options.”

Storage Class Memory [SCM] has also been enhanced with more intelligence. The OS now differentiates between SCM and standard NVMe drives within the system, speeding metadata access for up to 15% lower workload latency using only a single Intel Optane SCM drive.

“We have made tiering smarter to take advantage of Storage Class Memory,” Siegal said. “You have been able to run it as persistent memory, but now SCM has been added for metadata tiering, to combine SCM and flash in the same chassis. This is useful where high performance is required, and in active data sets where data moves out of the cache quickly.”

The other part of the announcement, which is likely to be of intense interest to many channel partners, is the introduction of the PowerStore 500, which becomes the low-end model in the PowerStore family.

“The PowerStore 500 is a lower cost entry model, which starts as low as $28,000 U.S. street price,” Siegal said. “Partners see this as a game changer in extending market reach through the midmarket and making it more accessible.”

The PowerStore 500 has a 2U form-factor, stores up to 1.2 petabytes, and while it is the entry level model in its family, is still capable of handling demanding enterprise workloads, supporting up to 2.4 million SQL transactions per minute and 1,500 VDI desktops per appliance.

“It has a lot of enterprise class capabilities for the price,” Siegal said. “It can also be expanded one drive at a time because of its DRE capability, like all PowerStore models.”

Siegal emphasized that the PowerStore500 will be a great fit for what he termed almost every industry out there.

“It will fit any solution that requires a combination of low cost and high performance in a small footprint without a lot of effort,” he said. It’s a ‘set it and forget it.’ We also fully anticipate a wave of new solutions around the 500 as customers find new ways to take advantage of this.”

Vigil said that because the PowerStore 500 will open up a variety of new use cases, Dell intends to make reference architectures available for it.

“We will have reference architectures that highlight all pieces of the infrastructure puzzle,” he said.

The PowerStore 500 is available for ordering on May 4, 2021. Shipments will start on June 10, 2021. June 10 is also the day that the PowerStore software updates will be available for download.

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