Dell Looks to Brings More Storage to More Businesses

By Dan Muse | Posted June 07, 2006

Dell's storage news today has a little something for everyone: Some NAS, a bit of DAS and a serving of tape on the side.

The announcement of new network-attached storage, disk, tape and management products come under the theme of making storage simpler for businesses of all sizes, Howard Shoobe, senior manager of PowerVault disk portfolio said.

On the network-attached storage front, the Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 based the 2900 Storage Server and 2950 Storage Server are designed to speed deployment time. In fact, Shoobe said that because the servers ship preconfigured with Microsoft storage operating system, "installation and setup is possible in as little as 15 minutes."

The new servers also offer file-replication with distributed file system (DFS) features built to allow a business to back up on NAS, "something historically used by larger organizations, but now offered with simplicity and at low cost," Shoobe said. The storage servers are available today starting at $2,980.

Dell also announced that it is expanding disk drive technology on its PowerVault MD1000 DAS systems to include support for Serial ATA (SATA) II disk drives as well as 3.5-inch Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives, which were announced last month.

Businesses can now mix and match between lower-cost SATA and more-expensive (and faster) SAS drives, making tiered storage, streaming media and disk-based backup and recovery more affordable. Shoobe said that SATA drives have a price-per-gigabyte that's about half of SAS drives.

"Small businesses may not want to spend the money on SCSI, and now they can expand with SATA," Shoobe said. For example, he said a company could use SATA drives to store things like video, audio or (for medical offices) X-rays. The addition of SATA also makes disk-based backup more affordable, Shoobe said, adding that backing up files to disk is a common demand these days. "Everybody is doing it, but calling it something different," he said.

The capability to have both SATA and SAS in one enclosure makes it more affordable to store a large amount of data on inexpensive disks, while more critical data resides on higher-performing SAS drives, Shoobe said. That makes the MD1000 well-suited for tiered storage. For example, he said, a law firm can move data to SATA drives after a case has been settled or a medical office can move patient information after he or she has been released.

The PowerVault MD1000 is also available this month starting at $4,500, according to Dell.

In the third leg of its storage-announcement trilogy, Dell said that it is expanding its line of PowerVault ML6000 tape libraries with the PowerVault ML6030 control module and PowerVault ML6000 expansion module. These modular tape products are designed to feature intelligence and self-diagnostic capabilities to ensure maximum system availability, according to Dell.

The PowerVault tapes products are build to drive greater simplicity and more affordability for businesses all sizes, said Tim Thornton, senior manager of PowerVault tape portfolio, at Dell. "That has been the birth right of larger companies with big data centers. Dell changes that birthright and offers the same level technology for law firms, insurance companies, small retailers and doctors' office. Small business have the same needs are large enterprises, just on a different scale," Thornton said. "The ML can be scaled down to a capacity for legal and doctors offices," he said.

Due to customer and compliance requirements, many small companies need to retain data and the ML6000 has the "intelligence to store it for very a long time," Thornton said. "It provides complete hands off for backup for four weeks."

For $16,000, according to a Dell spokeswoman, a business would have a maximum capacity of 14 terabytes, so for the four-week timeframe Thornton refers to, a business could put 3.6 terabytes per week on tape.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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