Dynamically Unifying your Data Center with the Next Generation Compellent Storage Center

There is a lot of customer and partner excitement here in Boston at the Dell Storage Forum.  Last night, Brad Anderson kicked off the event talking to the crowd about Dell’s continuing drive to provide customers with a converged, end-to-end solution across all Dell products.  What better way to show this commitment than announcing the PS M4110 – servers, networking, and storage all in a single server blade chassis solution?!

The excitement continued this morning with Darren Thomas announcing additional Dell storage enhancements to the existing Fluid Data Architecture product lines.  He highlighted several new Compellent products that unify block and file on new and next-generation platforms.  Specifically, Darren explained that Compellent will release three key offerings in the coming months – the 5th generation Compellent Storage Center controller (SC8000), new disk drive expansion enclosures built on Dell hardware (SC200/SC220), and an agile scale-out NAS solution (FS8600) based on the Dell Fluid File system and Compellent Storage Center.

To add a little more color to Darren’s announcement, the SC8000 is a Storage Center controller built on the Dell 12th generation PowerEdge server platform with a modified configuration to support the needs of the enterprise storage controller. Compared with previous generations of Compellent controllers, the SC8000 offers:

  • A field-tested design that delivers 99.999% availability across 26M+ hours of uptime(1)
  • Increased density
  • Exceptional processing power
  • Greater memory
  • Faster PCIe Gen3 IO bus

These upgrades make the SC8000 Storage Center the very scalable and high-performance platform of choice for the future.  In a rack-mount 2U form factor, each SC8000 controller contains two Intel 2.5GHz and six-core CPUs with either 16GB or 64GB of 1333 MHz memory. Memory can also be upgraded from 16GB to 64GB per controller after initial purchase.  The SC8000 provides improved diagnostics capability; exceptional power efficiency with Energy Star Platinum rated dual hot-swappable power supplies, and Dell Fresh Air technology. This technology allows for sustained operation at temperatures up to 113°F (45°C), which can reduce datacenter cooling costs.

The next-generation Compellent expansion enclosures are the model SC200 and SC220, which are based on Dell hardware to bring the reliability and efficiency expected from Dell storage enclosures and drives.  The SC200 is a 2U 6Gb SAS enclosure that supports up to twelve (12) 3.5” disk drives. The SC220 is a 2U 6Gb SAS enclosure that supports up to twenty four (24) 2.5” disk drives.  Both enclosures can support a mix of drive speeds and capacities in any slot within the enclosure, including SSDs.  An exciting capability of the 3.5” SC200 is that it will also support 2.5” SSD drives using a drive carrier to accommodate the 2.5” SSD in a 3.5” drive slot.  The SC200 and SC220 will work with both the current Series 40 controller and with the new SC8000 controller.

With the launch of the improved next-generation Compellent Storage Center platform, customers can still continue to enjoy the benefits of the uniquely efficient and automated Compellent feature set, including its patented automated tiering technology, Data Progression. The advantages that Compellent Storage Center already deliver are now enhanced by Dell’s 12th generation PowerEdge server platform and Dell’s storage enclosures for better density, performance, diagnostics, power consumption, and cooling efficiency.

Rounding out the Compellent excitement at Dell Storage Forum was Darren’s announcement of Compellent’s complete block and file solution – the Dell Compellent Storage Center SAN with the FS8600 NAS. The FS8600 introduces Dell’s Fluid File System to the Compellent storage environment, adding scale-out Network Attached Storage (NAS) to Compellent’s product portfolio. Together, the FS8600 and Storage Center unify file and block data on a single-sourced platform, combining the high scalability, performance and resiliency of the Fluid File System with the incredible efficiency of Compellent’s architecture.

Built on Dell hardware that has been custom-designed for Fluid File System products, the FS8600 shares a back-end infrastructure with the Dell Compellent Storage Center, enabling an efficient SAN and NAS ecosystem with a virtualized pool of disk for both block and file storage needs. The cost savings and efficiencies of Compellent’s automated tiering and thin provisioning technologies (Data Progression and Dynamic Capacity respectively) extend to the space allocated to the FS8600 for NAS use. Furthermore, with the introduction of Dell’s Fluid File System, Compellent customers can now scale file performance and capacity non-disruptively as their needs grow. The FS8600 supports a single distributed namespace for up to 4 FS8600 appliances and up to 1PB of manageable capacity with automatic load-balancing to optimize performance as the system scales. It also delivers a full suite of data protection and integrity features to maintain business continuity.

Attendees of Dell Storage Forum can get more detailed information about these announcements during breakout sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday.  For those who couldn’t attend Dell Storage Forum check out all the latest event happening and news here!


1 Results based on January 2012 internal Dell testing with actual MTBF calculated from a run time total of 26 million+ hours (accumulated by 6724 systems). Run time and availability impacting failures for a 6 month period from 8/2011 thru 1/2012. Estimated weighted average MTTR of 7.2 hours for 12 hour part SLA, 4.5 hours for 4 hour part SLA.. Based on high level hardware platform comparisons it is expected that the SC8000 will experience similar availability performance as Series 30/40. Actual SC8000 availability performance data will be available approximately 6 months post GA release.

About the Author: Dan Bock