Data Centers

Introducing Dell's EqualLogic PS6000 series arrays

As the company has done with its servers, Dell is constantly improving its EqualLogic line of storage. Scott Lowe, who is a long-time fan of EqualLogic, provides a high level compare and contrast overview of EqualLogic's new PS6000 series arrays.

Way back when, I used to have an EqualLogic PS200E array in my data center. Since moving to a new job, I haven't had the budget to support an adequate purchase of an EqualLogic array, but I have found happiness with an EMC AX4 array instead; it meets our needs, it's a good unit, and the cost has been amazing.

But, I still miss the EqualLogic array and its simplicity. The process of installing the unit from the shipping box and getting it into production took about 20 minutes, and the array's management interface was a beauty and very easy to use. Basic administrative tasks didn't even require a manual or a help file. Like I said, I'm happy with my AX4, but its management leaves a bit to be desired when compared with EqualLogic.

Even though I don't have an EqualLogic array anymore, I still drool on my keyboard on a regular basis when I review what's new with this division of Dell (although when I purchased mine a couple of years ago, the product was not yet owned by Dell). Lately, the EqualLogic division has been a busy bunch, releasing product after product with new features and capabilities. In this posting, I summarize the division's product portfolio in a compare/contrast way. I'll focus on the PS6000 series arrays.

The PS6000 series consists of five product models: the PS6000E, PS6500E, PS6000X, PS6000XV, and the PS6000S.  The basic specs of each model are listed in the table below.

 

PS6000E

PS6500E

PS6000X

PS6000XV

PS6000S

Max array capacity

16TB

24TB &

48TB

6.4TB

4.8TB &

7.2TB

800GB

Drive type

SATA

SATA

SAS (10K)

SAS (15K)

SSD

Drives/array

8 or 16

48

16

16

8 or 16

Drive sizes

250GB,

500GB &

1TB

500GB &

1TB

450GB

300GB &

450GB

50GB

Although there are differences between each model, those differences truly are just to differentiate models for particular workloads. Under the hood, every EqualLogic array shares the same feature set. One of the great things about EqualLogic is that, from a feature perspective, you don't need to pick and choose what you want. Need thin provisioning? It's built into the hardware and software at no additional charge. Need snapshot capability? It's built in at no additional charge.

Some of the high-level features included in EqualLogic arrays are:

  • Thin provisioning
  • Snapshots
  • Array replication
  • Multipath IO (MPIO)
  • Load balancing
  • Single pane management across all arrays
  • Performance monitoring
  • 4 iSCSI ports per storage controller

Each array can be completely standalone and does not rely on other arrays for availability; that is, each array is 100% redundant with no single point of failure. That said, if you need more capacity than is available in a single array, you can stack arrays together in a single storage pool that is centrally managed. Because every array has management ports, power supplies, etc., as you add arrays, overall storage performance increases in a scalable way. You can combine arrays totaling up to 576TB in capacity into a single storage pool. Oh, yeah... the best part? Remember that PS200E I mentioned earlier? Even that unit can be made a part of a storage pool with new units. EqualLogic does a great job making sure older product continues to be usable.

EqualLogic has developed a very compelling product that is extremely easy to manage, is scalable in both capacity and performance, and is priced reasonably well. When I was using EqualLogic, I found its support to be absolutely top notch and their staff knowledgeable. Again, EqualLogic isn't the cheapest solution out there, but its feature set is impressive and, if you have the money, it's well worth the price.

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About Scott Lowe

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

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