I was fortunate enough to be a delegate in the Tech Field Day Extra “PowerUp” event, where the Dell Technologies Storage and Data Protection teams shared their rebranded  products from their portfolios. The products all have the “Power” name in them so now they match the Dell Technologies Server portfolio.  Let’s look closer and get the the latest information about Dell Technologies PowerUp offerings.

During the presentations, one thing all of the delegates struggled with was trying to match the new names to existing technology. Here’s my stab at a guide, please let me know if I have anything confused!

Category New Name Old Name Heritage
Storage PowerStore Midrange.NEXT Dell Storage: SC

EMC Storage: Unity, XIO

Storage PowerFlex VxFlex ScaleIO
Storage PowerScale Unstructured.NEXT Isilon Scale-Out (OneFS)

ECS Object Storage

Data Protection PowerProtect Data Manager Data Protection Central Avamar, Networker, Data Protection Advisor, Data Protection Central
Data Protection Integrated Data Protection Appliance N/A Data Domain, Avamar
Data Protection PowerProtect X400 Appliance N/A Data Domain
Data Protection PowerProtect DD Series Data Domain Data Domain

 

Here’s an overview of the products presented at the PowerUp event, and the Tech Field Day Extra YouTube videos for each.

PowerUp Storage

These are the four major areas the Dell EMC Storage team shared with us in the Dell Technologies PowerUp offerings.

PowerStore

Dell EMC PowerStore is a storage appliance, created for the mid-range market. It replaces SC (from Compellent), Unity (from EMC’s VNX line that was based on Clariion that was based on Data General), and the XIO (from the XtremIO line) mid-range arrays. The storage software is a container-based application, separated into serviceability and management microservices, as well as file and block protocol assets. For security, the containers live on virtual machines for isolation and abstraction from the rest of the system. . One huge benefit to this type of application is that any part of the app can be updated, without having to update the others. This should lead to faster upgrades from the PowerStore team.

PowerStore is available as an appliance. It also can be deployed on servers, but at this time only certain PowerEdge servers (lots of PowerUp analogies possible here!). I’d check out the presentation for more. I’d also like to mention that Jodey Hogeland is one of the best remote presenters I’ve seen, and I may have to hit him up for some tips. Check him out:

PowerFlex

Dell EMC PowerFlex is also a storage appliance, and the team describes it as “high-end software defined storage”. It is the rebrand of VxFlex, which was originally created as an alternative to VSAN. Because of that, multiple hypervisors are supported. This is a high performance array that can support workloads such as SQL Server, Oracle RAC, Elastic Stack, Cassandra, and SAS. It can scale from the minimum size of 4 nodes to 1000s of nodes.

It is available to deploy on X86 hardware nodes as PowerFlex Rack (compute | storage | integrated networking + white glove treatment) or as PowerFlex Appliance (compute | storage) to be integrated with existing networking. There are three main architectural components:

  • SDS (Storage Data Server): creates and serves storage
  • SDC (Storage Data Client): consumes storage
  • MDM: (Metadata Manager): coordinates SDC and SDS activities

If you install an SDS and an SDC you can create an HCI node. It is actually a pretty cool architecture, and I’d recommend watching their presentation too.

PowerScale

Dell EMC PowerScale is the Dell Technologies NAS solution. It is the rebrand of Unstructured.NEXT, which combined Isilon and ECS. It is either available as all flash and NVMe nodes on PowerEdge servers (as small as 1U) or on an Isilon array (all flash, hybrid, and archive nodes). Clusters begin as small as 11TB and can grow to petabytes simply by adding a new node (claims say in 60 seconds). PowerScale can support file and object based storage, and supports 8 protocols including S3. It is available in an archive version (SATA drives), 3 hybrid versions, and 3 versions of an all-flash array.

The filesystem is called PowerScale OneFS. It automatically places the data so that hot spots are eliminated and manages the automatic expansion (moves content to storage nodes to optimize the system). The system can grow or shrink as needed for the workload with no impact on the users. It also uses automated data tiering to move data to the best tier of storage for it, even the cloud.  They even have partnerships with all of the major public cloud companies. Times have really changed, this may be the biggest PowerUp of all.

 

Cloud Storage

We also heard about the storage team’s cloud strategy, and the solutions they showcased was PowerScale for Google Cloud. This solution is ordered via the Google Cloud Console, uses PowerScale as the scale-out filesystem in Google Cloud. One use case they presented was interesting: using GPUs in the Google Compute Cloud. If you don’t want to pay for expensive GPUs, you can prep the data near the cloud, and then move it into Google Cloud for compute with the GPUs.

I’d love to see some numbers on whether using vSphere’s Bitfusion would be a more economical on-premises proposition, even with the cost of GPUs. If you don’t know, Bitfusion allows you to virtualize GPUs just like the cloud providers do. I’d also like to see the story about using GPUs in general across the Dell Technologies portfolio (Storage, Server, HCI, and VMware) tidied up a bit – right now seems like their best practice depends on which team you happen to speak with.

Powerup Data Protection

The last of the Dell Technologies PowerUp offerings I am going to cover is PowerProtect.  PowerProtect may be a bit harder to explain, and the reason is that the name of the portfolio was also the name given to many of the individual products in the Dell Technologies data protection portfolio. The suite was given the new name last year at Dell Technologies World.  The suite includes:

The way they’ve built the PowerProtect Data Manager continue to use elements of many of the heritage products, but modernize them. This ensures continuity for customers using decades-old backup products but building on that foundation and creating a way to get to a modern data protection solution. This is important, because if I have 15 years of Networker backups I want to be sure the software I’ll need to do a restore is still going to be available.

At the same time, what if I’m thinking of using some of that historical data as the data I feed into a machine learning algorithm, but the AI-based software is going to be built with containers, and managed with Kubernetes? I’m going to need modern data protection that can handle that as well. Data hygiene never goes away, our tools just evolve.

 

Real Talk

I have a soft space in my heart for Dell EMC Storage and Backups, I worked on both teams at both legacy companies (Dell and EMC). I really feel for them, they are tackling the giant product problem of making sure they provide continuity to current customers while at the same time building the bridge that is going to help those customers from legacy products to what is needed in this new era. On top of that, they’ve had to blend two behemoth companies who were once enemies. It took a huge PowerUp just to get to this point, and I think they have really done well.

I should know, I was escorted off the property in Franklin Ma when I resigned from EMC to go to Dell nine years ago. I think we’re getting our first look at the storage division that has emerged after merging companies and thinking through how to help customers for the next decade. It should be interesting to see how this all evolves!

Hopefully this helped you get some better insights into the Dell Technologies PowerUp offerings.

In case you missed it we also covered DellWorld here.  Take a look!

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