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Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend Dell’s User Forum held in Hollywood, Florida. They had a few exciting announcements at the event, however I took a keen interest in the announcement of their new Storage Platform called the Dell Storage SC4020.
What it is
The SC4020 is an extension of the Compellent Acquisition Technology. The Compellent Platform is a consistent, strong storage architecture for organizations looking for enterprise class capabilities in their SAN/NAS. If you’re looking for features like thin provisioning, automatic storage tiering, deduplication, and hybrid flash Utilization -while still maintaining investment protection- this system has a unique infrastructure that allows easier expansion on the platform without any downtime in the environment. This means you may not need the typical storage refresh every 3 years.
A major catch with the Compellent Platform used to be the price point. To build a proper Compellent Infrastructure (if you were looking a resilient baseline configuration, without making sacrifices), you looked at a six-figure purchase of $100,000 USD or more. Not a cheap price tag. The SC4020 is an exciting release because it allows clients to buy into the Compellent Architecture at a significantly lower price point: around $25K -$40K.
How it works
With all the major capabilities of its larger brother, the SC8000. The only real difference is that SC4020 disks and controllers are combined into one 2U unit, instead of two separate enclosures for disk and controller. This makes an ideal investment for small businesses expecting significant growth in the upcoming months. If making the case for big capital expenditures on technology is challenging, the low price point of the SC4020 makes for an attractive business case addressing the challenges of rapid growth. Get the SC4020 spec sheet here.
SC4020 vs. Equallogic
Dell will continue to sell the Equallogic boxes, such as the PS6000. The major claim to fame for this system, is that it’s easy. Easy to use with the simple operating system, simple to install (in which a new Equallogic node can be potentially set up in 6 minutes), and easy to grow – once you run out of space, just add a new node. The only downside with the Equallogic platform is cost of scalability. In this platform, once you begin to run out of capacity and/or performance, you will be forced to buy another node. The node comes with a brand new box which includes new hardware, disks, and expansion software licenses. However the price tag on your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th expansion node is the same as the first unit. These can be result in big unforeseen costs for your organization. Moreover, you may end up paying for a lot more hardware and Software than you actually need. For example, if you only needed an additional 1TB, but you pay the price of a brand new 4TB system.
Top 3 features of the SC4020:
The fine print
While the SC4020 allows you to access a lot of key features in the big brother of the SC8000, there some nuances that you should be aware of:
Why I like it
This platform presents a new alternative from the big storage players. The SC4020 opens the door to a top tier enterprise storage platform at justifiable cost or entry point. In my opinion, with the ever demanding needs for additional storage capacity and performance, the economic model of the Compellent allows more reasonable costs for growth over time. Also, I see this platform becoming the de-facto flagship platform for Dell over time and displacing the need for the Equallogic series.
What you should do right now
If you already use PowerVault or Equallogic, it might make sense for you to look at your system refresh cycle or with the additions of new workloads in your environment. If you do not use Dell, this unit makes it more reasonable to invest in enterprise class shared storage, and shows that storage costs are slowly coming down to the needs of the future organizations. However, you already know that other factors affect a storage investment decision, not just costs. Softchoice is a Dell Premier Partner in storage (along with other key players) and we will provide an unbiased opinion on the right storage solution for your organization.