Dell Technologies today revealed it has added more than 500 software enhancements to its portfolio of storage arrays.
The innovations will enable improvements in intelligence, automation, data mobility and security across clouds, on-premises and edge storage environments for all customers at no added cost, Dell said. Announced at Dell’s annual user conference Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas, the updates cover the company’s PowerStore, PowerMax and PowerFlex products.
First up is Dell PowerStore, which is the company’s midrange data storage platform targeted at customers looking to balance value, flexibility and simplicity with strong performance. Dell said PowerStore’s software upgrades will deliver up to a 50% mixed workload performance boost with up to 66% greater capacity. That will allow customers to improve the planning of their business continuity strategies with software-based high availability metro replication that can be configured with as little as five clicks.
The improvements also provide better support and security for file workloads, Dell said, with file level retention, native file replication and support for third-party file monitoring and ransomware protection. In addition, PowerStore benefits from deeper integration with VMware’s virtualization software with improved virtual volumes latency and performance, more simplified disaster recovery with virtual volumes replication, VM-level snapshots, and faster clones.
Next up was improvements to Dell PowerMax (pictured), the company’s flagship all-flash storage array. It’s touted by many as one of the world’s fastest storage systems thanks to its incorporation of machine learning algorithms that help optimize performance.
PowerMax is designed for mission-critical applications, so it’s essential that the appliance meets the highest standards in terms of resiliency. To that end, Dell said, it’s adding new cyber vaults for traditional and mainframe deployments.
In addition, PowerMax will benefit from new CloudIQ ransomware protection capabilities that can help detect cyberattacks the moment they begin, thereby minimizing exposure and speeding recovery. Dell said PowerMax now provides up to 65 million secure snapshots to improve cyber recovery, while increasing efficiency with a new four-to-one data reduction guarantee.
That’s not all, for PowerMax also gains a productivity boost with more automated storage operations, including multi-array smart provisioning, workload optimization and health monitoring and remediation. The updates also bring faster cloud snapshot shipping and recovery, allowing customers to move data to public clouds faster while minimizing downtime. On the performance side, Dell said, customers can expect a serious boost, with up to 50% better response times in demanding application and mainframe environments.
The final updates pertain to Dell EMC PowerFlex, which is a software-defined storage layer that pools storage resources across multiple nodes. Customers can aggregate storage resources across a large set of industry-standard nodes to build a high-performance, scalable, highly resilient storage pool, Dell says.
The biggest change here is that PowerFlex now consolidates traditional and modern workloads with new file services that deliver unified block and file storage capabilities on a single platform. Dell said PowerFlex therefore simplifies multicloud and DevOps with the industry’s broadest block and file support for all major Kubernetes and cloud orchestration platforms across Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, SUSE and VMware.
Other updates to PowerFlex will ensure customers benefit from greater total cost of ownership savings by consolidating traditional and containerized workloads using unified block and file storage across bare metal and virtualized storage resources. In addition, Dell sa, customers will benefit from simplified deployment through NVMe-over-TCP connectivity plus streamlined operations through the new unified compute, storage and system lifecycle management functionality in PowerFlex Manager.
Steve McDowell of Moor Insights & Strategy told SiliconANGLE that Dell is rarely the first to embrace new trends, preferring to let others establish a market before jumping in and taking control. He said that’s exactly what the company is doing now, both with its APEX-as-a-service offerings and its public cloud integration.
“There is a recognition from Dell that IT architects have made the public cloud part of the IT infrastructure,” McDowell said. “This is stronger than we’ve seen before. The new integrations of PowerProtect Cyber Recovery with both AWS and Azure demonstrates this.”
The analyst said that today’s updates are overall very solid. Most important, he said, Dell is catering to the demand from IT administrators for better cybersecurity and data protection with PowerStore’s newly updated metro-sync and enhanced replication features and PowerMax’s new cyber-resilience capabilities.
“There’s no great leap here, but it’s a nice expansion of already strong features that target data protection,” McDowell said. “Dell has an unmatched data protection story, and they keep making it stronger. It reaches from on-prem to APEX to public cloud.”
McDowell added that the biggest surprise is Dell’s Project Alpine, a recently announced initiative that will see it bring some of its storage systems into the cloud to act as a virtual storage array. Dell didn’t provide any updates on Alpine today, but McDowell said this is a more “software-first move” than we usually see from Dell. He said it will allow it to compete better with companies such as NetApp Inc. and its ONTAP public cloud offerings, as well as Pure Storage Inc. with its Cloud Block Store.
“We’re delivering major software innovation across our portfolio to help customers make the most of their data and resources,” said Dell Vice Chairman and co-Chief Operating Officer Jeff Clarke.
International Data Corp. analyst Eric Burgener said today’s updates will be beneficial because enterprises are seeking information technology infrastructure that delivers a cloudlike experience, regardless of where their data actually lives.
“Dell has designed these sweeping software and hardware enhancements across its comprehensive, multi-cloud infrastructure portfolio to deliver that experience with greater automation, security and control,” Burgener said.
Dell said the updates to its PowerStore, PowerMax and PowerFlex platforms will all become available sometime in the third quarter.