Dell Rolls Out First EqualLogic Arrays

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SAN FRANCISCO — Just a week after closing its acquisition of EqualLogic, Dell is wasting no time in ramping up its storage offerings.

At a press briefing here on Monday, the company announced its first Dell-branded product, the Dell EqualLogic PS5000 Series, a mid- to high-end storage offering that fills out Dell’s product line.

The PS5000 line is for companies with little or no Fibre Channel networking because it uses iSCSI instead. The iSCSI protocol is an IP-based specification that allows SCSIdevices to be controlled over an IP network.

There will be three versions of the new storage line, the PS5000E, PS5000X and PS5000XV. The “E” model will be the high-capacity serial SATAunit, while the “X” will use serial attached SCSI (SAS) drives. The “XV” is based on high-speed 15,000 RPM SAS drives, according to Praveen Asthana, director of enterprise storage at Dell.

The PS5000E, because it uses SATA drives, is meant for high-capacity needs that can get by with slower performance. Using 1TB drives in the PS5000’s four-by-four chassis, it can hold up to 16TB of storage.

The higher-performance SAS drives used in the X and VX lines have much lower capacity: 6.4TB max for the X and 4.8TB for the XV with all 16 bays filled.

All three units of the PS5000 line sit between Dell’s midrange AX series and the high-end CX series, which the company built in cooperation with EMC — a partnership that Dell said it plans to continue.

“This makes Dell an extremely broad provider of storage, meeting all of our customer needs, and provides a really broad product portfolio for our customers,” said Asthana.

Additionally, the PS5000 series is backward-compatible with existing EqualLogic systems and can be run from the same console management software.

EqualLogic makes Dell a player in storage, an area where it’s been lacking, said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT Research.

“If you look at HP and IBM and even Sun, there’s a real benefit to a server vendor to offer a full storage solution, and Dell was finding it harder to compete without one,” he said.

Prior to the acquisition, the best Dell could manage for storage was entry-level products like the MD3000i, King added.

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