Dell Technologies today launched a revamped midrange storage platform that takes advantage of NVMe interfaces and solid-state drives (SSDs) to deliver 7x the performance of previous Dell EMC PowerStore platforms, in addition to allowing applications to run locally on an instance of a VMware virtual machine.
Ben Jastrab, senior manager for storage product marketing at Dell Technologies, said the inclusion of a virtual machine in form of an AppsON capability means that rather than having to deploy applications on a server, for example, a data analytics application could be deployed directly on top of the data it needs to access on a storage system. In addition, the latest version of Dell EMC PowerStore adds support for instances of Kubernetes from VMware running on top of a virtual machine. Dell storage systems already provide support for the Container Storage Interface (CSI) needed to provide Kubernetes clusters access to external storage systems.
Dell has also added support for Ansible and VMware vRealize Orchestrator frameworks to automate the deployment and ongoing maintenance of Dell EMC PowerStore systems. As part of that effort to automate the management of storage systems, Dell added built-in machine learning algorithms to automate labor-intensive tasks such as initial volume placement, migrations, load balancing and issue resolution. Dell EMC CloudIQ storage monitoring and analytics software makes it possible to combine machine learning and human intelligence for real-time and historical performance and capacity analysis.
Jastrab noted that many of these innovations are made possible because the storage operating system employed within Dell EMC PowerStore has been completely revamped using microservices based on containers. That approach not only makes the operating system more flexible and resilient, but it also will afford Dell the opportunity to experiment with how it might present storage services in the future, he said.
Automation coupled with technologies such as deduplication and compression will play a critical role in driving the total cost of storage lower in the months ahead, Jastrab said. In the wake of the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, IT organizations will be under increased pressure to reduce costs at a time when both the amount and types of data that need to be analyzed and stored continue to increase, he noted, adding the Dell PowerStore system can provide access to 2.8PB of data when configured in a scale-up architecture and more than 11PB when configured using a scale-out architecture.
IT teams will need to determine to what degree they want to rely on proprietary frameworks such as VMware vRealize to automate IT infrastructure versus an open source Ansible framework that can be applied more broadly to multiple platforms. Dell owns VMware, but Jastrab said the company is committed to providing support for multiple IT automation frameworks.
It’s not clear to what degree applications will shift from being deployed on traditional servers to a storage system. Many next-generation applications are clearly more latency-sensitive than their predecessors, so providing more direct access to data over an NVMe interface may present IT teams with a compelling alternative. Regardless of the approach taken, the line between compute and storage continues to blur.