Dell Takes EMC NAS Box to Middle Ground

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Dell is taking network-attached storage (NAS) to its midrange customers, courtesy of EMC.

The co-branded Dell/EMC NS500G serves files for applications such as file sharing, computing clusters and Web content serving. The device is what vendors call a NAS gateway, letting data administrators consolidate data from different systems on a storage area network (SAN).

Organizations tend to implement NAS for file-based applications and SAN for block-based applications. But using two disparate architectures can double the cost and complexity of the storage network.

Gateways were fashioned to solve this dilemma at a time when the glut of corporate data, including e-mail files and portable document files (PDF), is growing exponentially. Network Appliance, EMC and IBM are among the vendors offering NAS gateways to accommodate customer demands for simplified data management.

Dell wants a piece of that action, which is why the NS500G NAS gateway is built to let users share file and block data in one storage pool, said Praveen Asthana, director of Dell storage. Specifically, the device is designed to serve files while sitting in front of midrange Clariion SAN systems from EMC.

“What we’re doing is leveraging our partnership with EMC to provide a product for the customer that leverages existing investments in SAN,” Asthana said in an interview. “It really improves the utilization of the storage because the more pools of storage you have, the more likely they are to be underutilized.”

Asthana said offering such a gateway will give Dell an advantage over “sheet metal” NAS boxes that have limits on how much the storage can be scaled. He said that leveraging a SAN backend offers clients a lot more scalability, one of the core tenets of Dell’s enterprise strategy.

The NS500G, which will be priced and shipped next quarter, provides CIFS, NFS and iSCSI support from one console. It also runs up to 25,000 operations per second and stores up to 32 terabytes of data.

EMC, which has been offering the NS500 and NS500G since August, recently beefed up its own NAS portfolio with the Celerra NSX NAS server, a high-end NAS box that revs up to 300,000 network file system operations per second.

The NS500G is the latest offering in the four-year-old Dell/EMC partnership, under which Dell resells EMC systems under the joint Dell/EMC brand.

EMC generally sells the products as standalone systems, but Dell’s model is a bit different. Asthana said Dell tries to push customers toward full systems, including servers, storage and services.

Article courtesy of

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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