Storage Center OS 7.3 Brings Big Performance Boost to SC Series Arrays

Dell EMC just released for general availability the latest in beef-up and bulk-out SC Series storage performance. This new firmware release doubles the maximum IOPS achievable across every array model. 1

That, by itself, is great news. But it gets better — if you already have an SC Series array 2, you get all this goodness at no cost. It’s a simple software upgrade to your existing SC Series arrays. There are several new enhancements that come with the Storage Center OS (SCOS) 7.3 release, two of which include: maximum capacity increases and the introduction of 100/25Gb iSCSI. Here is a link to our announcement blog that provides the full list of enhancements and a bunch of high-level information.

Read on to learn more about some of the huge benefits of this upgrade, and find links to more detailed information on each of those benefits.

Let’s talk performance

Every environment appreciates more performance. The SCOS 7.3 release changes how many array processes are performed, and as mentioned above, results in increased performance.

Distributed spare

Another source of increased performance with SCOS 7.3 is through the addition of the distributed spare feature. Distributed sparing increases performance in two ways: First, by distributing the spare drive capacity over all drives in use, the RAID rebuild time required when the spare space is required has been dramatically reduced by as much as 500%.

Distributed spare space (blue) reserved on each disk drive

In addition, since all the drives in the system are now participating in data storage and activities with that data, what used to be an idle device (disk or SSD) is now included in the overall performance capabilities — more active drives equals more performance. Find more detailed information and benefits in the distributed spare white paper and distributed spare video.

Live Volume

Live Volume enhancements have arrived with SCOS 7.3 as well. ALUA (Asymmetric Logical Unit Access) functionality has been included in Live Volume to enable a more robust path selection through preferred path policies — keeping storage traffic on the local higher-performing paths when available, for both VMware and Microsoft environments.

Uniform Live Volume with ALUA and Round Robin PSP

Additionally, using the new Storage Replication Adapter, Live Volume can now be implemented in conjunction with VMware Site Recovery Manager. You can find a lot more details surrounding Live Volume, including the new enhancements like an increase in scalability, in this Live Volume white paper.

Investment protection with SC4020 data-in-place upgrade

Here’s a scenario most don’t look forward to. You bought a great new array a couple years ago, and it was filled with high-performance flash storage. It’s working great, but you really want to move to a newer model with even better performance or increased capacity. If that new array you bought a couple years back was the SC4020 array, you’re in good shape now. We now offer data-in-place upgrades from the SC4020 to the SC5020 or SC7020.

Data-in-place upgrade moves disks and enclosures to the new array

The data-in-place upgrade solution brief covers the details on your upgrade options, upgrade limitations and what to expect when performing the upgrade.

Management and monitoring

Starting with SCOS 7.3, SC Series storage arrays can now be managed using Unisphere for SC Series and Unisphere Central for SC Series — both of which are HTML5 applications. Yep, no need for Java for day-to-day management of your SC Series arrays.

To clarify, if you are accustomed to using Dell Storage Manager to connect directly to an array for management, you would now use Unisphere for SC Series. If your environment utilized the Dell Storage Manager Data Collector, you would now use Unisphere Central for SC Series. Here is a Unisphere for SC Series video that walks through the interface.

Additionally, Dell EMC Cloud IQ can now be used for monitoring SC Series environments; enabling central monitoring, predictive analytics and proactive health for both Dell EMC Unity and SC Series storage platforms — in one window.

Huge performance increase with zero hardware changes

Again, aside from the SC4020 data-in-place upgrade, you get all of these enhancement and performance boosts with no required hardware changes. They are all unlocked with a simple firmware upgrade. Talk to your Dell EMC sales team or contact Dell EMC Support to get your array upgraded to the latest SCOS 7.3 code today. And in the meantime, be sure to check out the wealth of information you can find online at

  1. Based on internal tests performed in February, 2018 on SC9000, SC7020, SC5020 and SCv3020 arrays running 7.3 vs. 7.2 firmware on 100% sequential reads with 4K sector transfer size. Actual performance will vary based on configuration, usage and manufacturing variability.
  2. SCOS 7.3 firmware upgrade is available for existing SC9000, SC8000, SC7020, SC7020F, SC5020, SC5020F, SC4020, SCv3xxx, and SCv2xxx arrays with active support contracts.

About the Author: Darin Schmitz

Darin is a VMware subject-matter expert, storage engineer, and author of best-practices documents for the Dell EMC midrange storage group.