Dell’s first Ocarina-based solution – the DX6000G Storage Compression Node

Did you realize that most files are created and never looked at again after creation?  Read any analyst report of storage these days and this makes sense, as data center storage requirements are continuing to grow. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an efficient way to compress some of those files that only get looked at once, but that still need to be kept due to business requirements?

Today at Dell World, Dell Storage announced the launch of the new DX6000G SCN (Storage Compression Node). As a new option for the Dell DX Object Storage platform, this solution provides new compression capabilities that drastically reduce data file sizes and the footprint of archival and cloud infrastructure storage.  It is the first Dell solution to leverage technology from the 2010 Ocarina Networks acquisition.

What is object storage?

Object storage addresses the growing need for ensuring data integrity, scaling massively, and providing increased information about the stored data.  Dell’s DX Object Storage Platform stores file data in context, without a file system. Files are stored as objects along with metadata that describes the file. Each object is given a unique ID, which is used to retrieve the object. These IDs are stored in a flat address space – no file system hierarchy. Object storage is different because it manages files based on content… traditional file systems manage files based on their location.

A base DX Object Storage Platform configuration consists of a DX Cluster Server node (CSN) to manage the solution and 2 – DX60xxS storage nodes for storing the objects.  Because the DX communicates internally via HTTP, Dell introduced the optional DX6000G Cluster File Server (CFS) node in April this year, which allows customers to use common file protocols (CIFS and NFS) to access the configuration directly.  Now with today’s announcement of the DX6000G Storage Compression Node (SCN), Dell has further enhanced the overall DX value proposition by offering optional compression technology to reduce DX storage footprint and capacity needs.

What exactly does this new solution contain?

The DX6000G SCN works in conjunction with the Cluster Services node. It will enable compression for all data stored through the CSN (including mutable objects). Users can set compression by object:

  • Fast mode (default):  compresses and decompresses data quickly. 
  • Best mode: compresses at a slower rate, but with greater data reduction

Objects can be compressed up to 90%, depending on the file type. Internal testing shows that users can achieve 50-79% compression savings on office file and email data (including XLS, DOC and PPT files) and closer to 90% on web content (such as XML and HTM files).

What about deduplication?

Deduplication does not lend itself well to objects, hence this new introduction focuses on compression technology.  However, Dell plans to introduce deduplication into Dell’s Fluid Data storage architecture with additional solutions expected to be announced beginning early 2012.  

How can I learn more?

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About the Author: Gina Rosenthal