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What You Need to Know About Dell Tech’s New PowerStore Appliance

PowerStore's focus on automation, intelligence, simplicity and agility delivers a truly modern storage architecture with eight key differentiators.

May 5, 2020 6 minute read

Dell Technologies recently announced the launch of PowerStore, a new midrange storage appliance designed to support today’s increasing data demands. 

Built from the ground up with development input from WWT, PowerStore adds next-generation capabilities to Dell Tech’s well-known storage portfolio. PowerStore’s data-centric, intelligent and adaptable infrastructure provides greater storage flexibility, performance and insight across a wide range of applications at the right mid-range price. 

PowerStore is available in two models: PowerStore T and PowerStore X. PowerStore T is the standard deployment model for block and file storage. PowerStore X provides block storage only but includes installation of the VMware hypervisor, allowing PowerStore OS to be installed as a virtual machine (VM) and applications to be embedded as VMs directly on the appliance. Below are the current model sizes. 

PowerStore is available in five model sizes ranging from 1000 to 9000.
PowerStore is available in five model sizes ranging from 1000 to 9000.

Keeping up with the data

Before we dive into specific capabilities, it’s important to understand where the storage industry has been, where it’s going, and how PowerStore fits into the bigger picture. 

In the last 10 years, there has been an explosion of data. Organizations now use data to guide business decisions, develop new products and services, and create competitive advantage. This puts increased pressure on IT infrastructure to support diverse data requirements while operating economically and with agility.

To address these new demands, manufacturers started focusing on four key areas when building storage appliances: 

  • Data protection: Is data secure?
  • Data diversity: Are all data types supported?
  • Data efficiency: Does it run deduplication and compression?
  • Data value: Is the data being used for testing, development or production?

However, as the amount and types of data continued to increase, organizations had difficulty finding a single storage architecture that addressed all their requirements. This led many organizations to implement multiple storage architectures, creating silos and inefficiencies within IT.

Dell Tech recognized this problem within their own storage organization. In a 2018 CRN interview, Jeff Clarke, Dell vice chairman of Products and Operations, explained he was aware that Dell’s storage teams were highly compartmentalized and could at times lack a focus on customer needs. This prompted several changes to Dell’s storage organization; one being developing a new midrange storage product.

Dell Tech’s goal in developing PowerStore was not only to satisfy the above four requirements but to deliver a truly modern storage architecture to reduce complexities and silos. To achieve this, Dell Tech incorporated four additional focus areas when creating PowerStore:

  • Automation: Can it automate operational tasks to save time?
  • Intelligence: Does it leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence?
  • Simplicity: Does it enable streamlined processes?
  • Agility: Can data be moved quickly from edge to core to cloud?

By focusing on these new areas, PowerStore brings together data and operations so organizations can achieve digital transformations faster and keep pace with evolving data demands.

Key features

PowerStore has all the functionality expected in a modern storage architecture, including: 

  • Modern connectivity options: 32Gb FC and 25/10/1GbE Support
  • Unified storage approach: NAS (SMB/NFS), SAN (FC/iSCSI), vVols
  • Data at Rest Encryption (D@RE) support
  • Data Services: Data reduction, snapshots, thin clones (iCDM), vVol managed snapshots, and Native Remote Async Replication for data recovery
  • Flash-only design: Supports Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe), Storage Class Memory (SCM) and SAS NAND media

While these features are relatively standard across modern storage appliances, it’s still important to ensure they’re considered when evaluating storage options. 

Eight key differentiators 

We believe PowerStore deserves close consideration by organizations for the following reasons:

  1. Container-based architecture: The modularity of PowerStore’s container-based architecture allows organizations to non-disruptively upgrade individual components — hardware, software, specific features, etc. — and integrate Dell’s cross-platform applications and features for faster innovation.
  2. Programmable infrastructure: PowerStore users can leverage various plug-ins, including those for VMware, Kubernetes and Ansible, to enable DevOps and automation.
  3. 4:1 data reduction guarantee: While data deduplication and compression are typically available in storage appliances, a 4:1 data reduction guarantee is not. This means for every four gigabytes of unique data written, only one gigabyte of space is consumed. Dell Tech claims as much as a 20:1 data reduction is achievable, depending on the workload. Regardless, a 4:1 guarantee is impressive and ensures optimal use of storage space.
  4. Ability to scale up and scale out: Organizations don’t have to choose between scaling up or scaling out; PowerStore offers both options for improved flexibility. Organizations can scale up their storage by adding or upgrading components and scale out performance by adding additional appliances to create a parallel architecture.
  5. Seamless tiering to the cloud: As more organizations adopt a multicloud approach, there must be an easy way to move data from on-prem storage to private or public cloud. PowerStore’s quick and seamless process for tiering  data to the cloud allows organizations to gain efficiencies and reduce costs.
  6. Intelligent data placement and load balancing: PowerStore automatically discovers new storage appliances when added to a cluster and — leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence — appropriately reallocates data for the best performance. PowerStore continuously monitors for load balancing optimizations and anomalies to prevent data loss. Additionally, organizations have access to CloudIQ, a storage analytics tool included with PowerStore, to receive real-time health scores of their storage appliances.
  7. Anytime Upgrade Program: This subscription program allows organizations to continuously modernize their storage infrastructure throughout their contract and without a renewal. Organizations can choose to upgrade to the next generation of nodes, upgrade to a higher model within their current family, or scale out their environment with an equivalent system.
  8. Seamless migration: Current Dell storage customers can seamlessly migrate to PowerStore from the following legacy systems: XtremIO, Unity, SC Series, VNX Series and PS Series.

Is PowerSTORE right for you? 

PowerStore’s adaptable architecture can support a multitude of workloads — from electronic medical records (EMRs) to content repositories — but more importantly, its modern approach allows organizations to better leverage data to grow their business. 

Want to learn more? Launch our PowerStore lab or connect with Todd Bolton, Scott Herbig or Bryan Peroutka to discuss if PowerStore is the right fit for your organization. For a deeper dive into storage solutions, request an Enterprise Storage Infrastructure Workshop.

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