BLOG: Selecting the Right Dell EMC Storage Solution

September 11th, 2020 BLOG: Selecting the Right Dell EMC Storage Solution
Bryan Samson
Strategic Alliances Manager


Have you ever noticed how storage shopping can be like walking into a car dealer and having too many choices? Cars come in many models, ranging from entry (compact) to high capacity (minivan) to performance (sports) and a balance between performance and capacity (SUV). In addition, most dealers sell a limited number of brands, so if you are interested in comparing different makes and models, the shopping and decision-making process becomes even more difficult.

This is quite similar to data storage shopping. It can be daunting and overwhelming, yet a solution provider can help you navigate your options to arrive at a right-sized choice that meets your goals. Similar to a broker, a solution provider can listen to your needs and requirements, presenting possible options and helping you make an informed decision across all manufacturer brands. This can come in handy when looking at midrange storage offerings from a big-iron supplier like Dell Technologies.


Shopping Midrange Dell EMC Storage


According to IDC, as of Q1 2020, Dell EMC owns 33.2% of the market share for external storage. This is more than triple the market share of its next closest competitor, NetApp, at just 11%. When you include HPE, the top market share leaders command over 50% of a very crowded market. So, like car shopping, it’s best to start with the leaders. For the purposes of this article, let’s discuss the vast number of midrange storage choices from just one of the market leaders, Dell Technologies.


Which Dell EMC Storage Solution Should I Choose?


The monster portfolio of Dell Technologies’ storage solutions has grown exponentially in the past several years. In late 2016, Dell purchased EMC and the storage infrastructure brand became known as Dell EMC. Shortly thereafter, Dell Compellent, a block storage workhorse with a large customer base, was renamed to the Dell SC Series product line and remains a big seller for Dell EMC. In the same year, Unity was launched with XtremIO on its heels. Then, this year, Dell EMC released PowerStore. How to choose which Dell EMC storage solution is for you?

Dell SC Series – If you don’t need the advanced functionality, high-performance all-flash technology, or unified subsystem, then SC is for you.

Dell EMC Unity – However, if you are modernizing your data center, Dell EMC Unity storage array product line is probably going to be a better fit. It’s the next generation in midrange unified storage.

Dell EMC XtremIO – If you need high-volume, high-capacity, high-performance all-flash storage with the lowest latency, the Dell EMC XtremIO storage platform is an excellent choice.

Dell EMC PowerStore – Do you want the Tesla of storage solutions? Dell EMC PowerStore is the first “built from the ground up” subsystem from Dell Technologies since they integrated the Dell and EMC storage teams. It promises to combine all the best features of SC, Unity, and XtremIO, plus add new next-generation architecture like NVRAM, NVMe, storage-class memory (SCM), efficient data reduction, and a VMWare ESXi Hypervisor. Dell Technologies owns VMware, too, remember? The PowerStore future-proof container architecture allows users to run data protection and/or anti-viral services in the storage system itself, similar to advanced HCI subsystems. This showcases the power of Dell using in-house collaboration between Dell EMC and VMWare.


Do You Have a Business Case for Dell EMC PowerStore?


Is PowerStore Dell’s one storage subsystem to rule them all? The simple answer is “yes,” but not just yet. There is a premium for new subsystems and, while storage costs continue to fall and the advanced data efficiencies drive the costs lower, the transition will be slow. This is where a solutions provider like Mainline comes in. If you’re facing these questions and starting to feel like you’re car shopping, it’s time to speak with someone that knows the playing field and can help develop a decision tree to funnel your choices down. All new purchase decisions should be vetted to ensure you’re making a wise decision for your project, but also for the longevity of the product family.


Dell EMC Storage Solution Lineup


Dell EMC strategic products carry the word “Power” in their name. PowerEdge servers, PowerVault for entry-level storage, PowerStore for midrange storage, PowerMax for enterprise storage, PowerFlex for software defined storage (SDS) and PowerSwitch for switching. But you may not necessarily need a Power-line product. Here is a general rule of thumb:

  • For entry level: SC (Compellent) or PowerVault
  • For unified: PowerStore or Unity
  • For performance: XtremIO or PowerMax
  • For flexibility (SDS): PowerFlex appliance or rack OR PowerStore X Series

Mainline specializes in storage and helps our customers evaluate choices and select the right solution for their unique business needs. There are many other considerations when selecting a storage solution that are not discussed here, and even if you’re looking at just one manufacturer, it can be daunting. Mainline’s architects and engineers have hundreds of storage certifications and can help our customers select, architect, and implement efficient, secure storage systems that improve their bottom line.

For more information, click here to contact us .

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