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During the second european edition of Dell Storage Forum, Dell has announced new products and features, according of the Fluid Data architecture.

“The nature of IT and what a data center should do for an organization is changing rapidly as customers face multiple and often competing models of how technology is delivered — from client to cloud to converged,” said Darren Thomas, vice president and general manager, Dell Storage. “Dell is best positioned with an end-to-end storage architecture that can optimize data at every point in its lifecycle through intelligence and automation. Dell’s Fluid Data Architecture enables new capabilities that power the data center, so customers can drive real business results.”

New software for Dell Compellent and PowerVault MD3

  • Dell Compellent Storage Center 6.3 that can increase performance up to 100 percent over previous versions when running enterprise workloads[1] and can double bandwidth as the first storage array featuring end-to-end 16Gb Fibre Channel from server to switch to storage.
  • New advanced software for Dell PowerVault MD3 that offers enhanced data protection, capacity utilization, and virtualization capabilities in an affordable, high performance solution

Dell Compellent Storage Center 6.3 array software unveiled today offers enhanced scalability and performance for Dell Compellent arrays. Compellent SC8000 controllers with Storage Center 6.3 software can increase performance up to 100 percent over previous versions when running enterprise workloads. Additionally, with this release, Dell is the first storage provider to announce end-to-end 16Gb Fibre Channel capability — from server to switch to storage — doubling bandwidth and speeding access to business critical applications and data.

Designed for medium to large enterprises and cloud computing, Dell Compellent arrays offer best in class automated tiering, advanced data protection and superior ease of use. These features combine with a highly scalable, modular design that enables users to update storage software at no additional cost and easily expand without requiring a “rip and replace” of their existing infrastructure. According to a new IDC White Paper, commissioned by Dell, Compellent installations had almost twice as long a productive life span than non-Dell storage solutions with organizations replacing Compellent every 6.9 years compared to 3.5 years for their other storage environments.

Announcing Storage Center 6.3 for Dell CompellentAdditional enterprise enhancements from Storage Center 6.3 announced today include:

  • Synchronous replication enhancements that can improve resiliency for data recovery and provide multi-site replication flexibility designed to reduce recovery time and recovery point objectives;
  • Expanded Microsoft integration with new Windows Server 2012 support;
  • Enhanced security and reduced administration time with Active Directory and LDAP support that automates and integrates Compellent storage with a corporate directory to enable a single authentication and authorization process for granting access;
  • Improved federal government security by supporting USGv6/IPv6 requirements for a wide range of available IP addresses; and,
  • The ability to intelligently alert and recommend placement of volumes across multiple arrays based on proactive performance and capacity monitoring.

Dell PowerVault MD3 Software Enhancements New Dell PowerVault MD3 software enhancements offer enhanced data protection, performance, capacity and virtualization capabilities while designed to maintain up to 99.999 percent availability for these affordable, high performance arrays.

Data protection enhancements include dynamic disk pools that simplify disk management and improve rebuild performance by distributing data across all drives, decreasing significant recovery time of drive failures. In addition to current Fibre Channel replication capabilities, new IP-based remote asynchronous replication protects against site failures, improves application speeds, and increases distance support.

New PowerVault MD3 software application integration and efficiency capabilities include VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) support, which allows customers to offload certain storage related tasks from the server to PowerVault arrays. New thin provisioning capabilities enable arrays to automatically allocate storage as needed for simplified and cost-effective expansion of capacity.

New solutions for data protections

Dell data protection portfolio bolstered by new solutions, including the Dell PowerVault DL4000, providing feature-rich AppAssure software optimized in a 1U backup appliance:

  • Dell PowerVault DL4000 — Optimized for small to medium enterprises and remote offices, the first backup appliance based on Dell AppAssure software provides a fast and complete backup and disaster recovery solution for business-critical applications and data with seamless integration of software and system management. With 5.5 terabytes of internal storage capacity, this 1U turnkey appliance offers established snapshot, replication, de-duplication and compression software for efficient use of backup capacity. Users can benefit from hosting two virtual standby machines that protect critical applications for up to two servers, offering quick disaster recovery.
  • Quest NetVault Backup 9.0 — New Quest data protection software integrates with NetVault Extended Architecture (NetVault XA), featuring a new graphical user interface and a set of shared services to unite multiple Quest data protection technologies for simpler management. The software enables mid- to large-sized organizations to simplify data protection while protecting critical applications in physical and virtual heterogeneous environments. NetVault’s cross-platform capabilities are expanded to Windows Server 2012 and Novell Open Enterprise Server 11, while Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and VMware vSphere® enhancements offer improved functionality, performance and scalability. The addition of native replication to the NetVault SmartDisk deduplication solution helps streamline offsite data storage and disaster recovery.
  • Dell PowerVault DL2300 — New enterprise-class data protection appliance combines Dell PowerEdge 12th generation servers with CommVault Simpana 9 modern data protection software to offer large enterprises with data backup, recovery, replication, archiving and de-duplication for both physical and virtual servers in one easy-to-set-up, pre-tested solution. The new appliance incorporates latest generation processor and memory capabilities to optimize de-duplication database configurations for higher backup performance. Users can save administrative time with built-in, policy-based automation for managing backup and archiving.

Dell PowerVault DL4000   Dell PowerVault DL2300


  • Dell Compellent Storage Center 6.3 will be available in starting 2013, and in GA for Q2 2013.
  • New Dell PowerVault MD3 software and Dell PowerVault DL2300 are already available.
  • Dell Quest NetVault Backup 9.0 will be available in Dec 2012.
  • Dell PowerVault DL4000 will be available in Q1 2013.
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Also at this edition of Dell Storage Forum will have an official #storagebeers (like the previous one at London).

As usual, a #storagebeers is a social gathering of storage and infrastructure folks and will be a great moment to know new people or meet again some very skilled guys.

For more information on the event:

  • Why: because it’s cool :-)
  • When: Wednesday 14 Nov night at 9:00 PM (after the welcome reception)
  • Where: Havane Café (Boulevard Auguste Blanqui, 75013 Paris, France)
  • How: from the event hotel, follow this path

Visualizzazione ingrandita della mappa

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During the Dell Storage Forum 2012 at Paris, on Wed 14th Nov from 9:00 to 14:00 CET, there will be a special event! A Fluid Forward Think Tank.

A Think Tank is a gathering of socially active folks to have a discussion that is not controlled but enabled by Dell. For the Fluid Forward Think Tank, our European-based industry influencers will come together to discuss hot topics, current trends, new challenges, and best practices in the storage industry.

The gang for the day includes folks from all over Europe who range from technical architects to VMUG founders. Confirmed attendees include:

Simon Robinson, Research Vice President of 451 Research will be moderating our Fluid Forward Think Tank (learn more about Simon’s role at 451 here). The entire event will be available OnDemand for those who are unable to play along as it happens.

Folks from everywhere are welcome and encouraged to join us virtually via Twitter or via streaming. Follow the Twitter stream during the event using the Think Tank hashtag #FluidForward.

For more information, see also:

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This is the keynote list of Dell Storage Forum Paris:

  • 9:00AM CET Wednesday, November 14, 2012 “Selling the Dell Storage Advantage – A Customer Conversation”
    Client, cloud, converged. These key technology transitions are changing the nature of the data centre, and offering you even more opportunity to sell your customers on the benefits of Dell storage and a Fluid Data architecture. Greg Davis, Global Channel Chief, will tell you how to tap into training and partner-only programs to help fast forward your business with Dell. Then, Brett Roscoe, General Manager and Executive Director, PowerVault and Data Management Solutions, will join several Dell storage experts—Travis Vigil, EqualLogic; Andy Hardy, Compellent; and Eric Endebrock, AppAssure—to talk about how you can use these technology transitions to your advantage in a customer conversation. They’ll provide tips on how to position the right Dell storage products, and how to leverage time-tested use cases and reference architectures to validate your proposed solution.
  • 9:00AM CET Thursday, November 15, 2012 “Fluid Forward”
    From client to cloud to converged, the nature of the data centre is changing, with competing models for how IT is delivered to help a business grow. To keep pace with dynamic data growth, you need the Fluid Data architecture—storage designed to move your business forward today while also preparing you for the future. Join forwardthinking industry veteran Darren Thomas as he walks you through the Dell storage strategy and announces new advancements to the Fluid Data architecture. Hear from the Dell storage engineering leadership team—Brett Roscoe, General Manager and Executive Director, PowerVault and Data Management Solutions; Alan Atkinson, General Manager, Compellent Solutions; and Pete Korce, Vice President and General Manager, EqualLogic Solutions—about how we’re accelerating innovation and moving the Fluid Data architecture forward.
  • 9:00AM CET Friday, November 16, 2012 “Moving You Forward – The Furure of Fluid”
    Look into the future of your IT infrastructure with Stefanie Myers-Woodbury, Director of Storage Strategy for Dell, as she sketches out the evolution of the Fluid Data architecture, including tiering beyond the array, converged data protection and cloud integration. She will be joined by three of Dell’s senior architects, who whiteboard the future of our core technologies and change the way you think about storage.

All are also available with the the Dell LiveStream Broadcasts.

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I’m just traveling to Paris to join at the second European Dell Storage Forum event (the first one was in London). I will attend from the 13 Nov through the 15 Nov.

Dell Storage Forum Paris will underscore a “Fluid Forward” concept, unveiling the next set of advancements of Dell Fluid Data architecture, including new efficiency, performance and protection capabilities that further deliver on the promise of an end-to-end storage architecture that optimises data throughout its lifecycle to drive business results for customers.

The event’s agenda is filled with more than 60 sales and technical sessions, 5 product roadmaps, 3 plenary sessions, 16 hours of hands-on labs (attendees will be given access to Dell storage solutions, including the latest from Dell CompellentEqualLogicPowerVault and DX Object Storage) and three complimentary training courses… so a lot of opportunities!

But there will be also other events like the Fluid Forward Think Tank and the #storagebeers. Stay tuned!

You can follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #DellSF. For more information see the web site and the press release.

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My briefing with Spectra Logic, during the last Powering the cloud event, was with Steve Mackey (VP International).

The company design and deliver innovative data protection through tape and disk-based backup, recovery and archive storage solutions.

Compared to previous companies met during this event, this is one with a long history (over 30 years of experience in storage) and it well know in the US, but honestly not the same in EMEA (or at least not in Italy) and, in fact, one of their mission is increase the market share in EMEA.

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My briefing with APTARE, during the last Powering the cloud event, was with Nigel Houghton (Regional director of sales EMEA).

APTARE is the leading independent provider of enterprise data center optimization software that helps companies maximize their storage environment, reduce TCO (total cost of ownership) and ensure that their critical data is protected.

The company has a long history because was founded in 1993 by a team of enlightened computer software engineers that focused on designing and delivering transactional database systems that were massively scalable in two dimensions: capacity and performance.

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My briefing with Virtual Instruments, during the last Powering the cloud event, was with Skip Bacon (CTO) and Chris James (EMEA Marketing Director).

Virtual Instruments is a company focused in Infrastructure Performance Management for physical, virtual, and cloud computing environments. The VirtualWisdom® platform provides end-to-end visibility into real-time performance, health and utilization metrics from the entire systems stack. Virtual Instruments drives improved performance and availability while lowering the total cost of the infrastructure supporting mission-critical applications. continue reading…

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My briefing with Avere Systems, during the last Powering the cloud event, was with Rebecca Thompson (VP Marketing) and Bernhard “Bernie” Behn (Principal Technical Marketing Engineer).

Avere Systems brings to the market NAS Optimization solutions designed specifically to scale performance and capacity separately and take advantage of new Flash-based storage media using real-time tiering.

The company was founded on 2008 by a team of seasoned storage experts, and the President and CEO Ronald Bianchini, Jr. was a Senior Vice President at NetApp. Before it, he was CEO and Co-Founder of Spinnaker Networks, which developed the Storage Grid architecture acquired by NetApp. Also the CTO Michael Kazar has worked on versions of Carnegie Mellon University’s Andrew File System as well as the Andrew Toolkit, an OLE-like windowing toolkit.

The headquarter is at Pittsburgh (PA), but they also have an EMEA office in UK.

We have mainly discussed about their product to reduce the storage (NAS based) latency.

In a traditional storage solution there are some latency issues:

  • HDD latency (could be compensate by fast disks)
  • Storage CPU latency (queuing latency, could be compensate by mid-high level storage)
  • Geographic latency (depending on the distance and the bandwidth)

All traditional solutions to reduce the latency will increase the storage costs.

In the Avere solution there are two different roles:

  • Edge Filer (closer to the host part) could reduce the latency, increase the performance (by accelerate read, write & metadata operations), could gain linear performance scaling through clustering.
  • Core Filer (the traditional storage), that could become capacity optimized and can mix heterogeneous vendors in the same cluster.

Compared to other flash solutions this could resolve different issue:

  • Filer-Side Flash: flash are attached to some filer and hottest virtual machines must be placed on them. There could be some unused flash. And also could not optimize remote filer.
  • Server-Side Flash: flash are attached to some ESXi server (or other virtualization hosts) and hottest applications must be located on ESXi server with flash. Caching could only be read-only (due to the lack of high-availability protection for write-cached data). Also requires some custom drivers.

With the Avere FTX Edge Filer we have a Global Flash Pool that can perform read/write caching both for the data but also for the metadata, becose the edge terminated the NAS protocol and act as a “proxy” for the core filer (in this way also locking could be managed by the edge filer).

With more than two node, is possible not only scale the solution (with a linear scaling up to 50 nodes), but also have an HA configuration, where each node has another as a peer, but all are see as one with a transparent and global namespace based on the A3 architecture.

Also it’s possible reach an optimal density utilization of Edge Filer capacity, considering a 100:1 off-load typical for VMware, 1% of traffic transits the network. Al cases are actually based on VMware as a virtualization solution and they are also deploying specific off-load features.

On the front-end side actually it support SMB2 (maybe SMB3 in the future) and NFS. On the back-end side actually only NFS (maybe if the future they could implement also specific protocol support, for example to support public cloud storage solution).

One interesting user case of this type of solutions could be the ROBO (Remote Office/Branch Office) scenario: in this with we can have a central storage in the headquarter and several ESXi + Edge in each remote office!

For more information see also:

See also: full report list of Powering The Cloud 2012 event.

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My briefing with Violin Memory, during the last Powering the cloud event, was with Garry Veale (Managing Director, EMEA).

The company was founded on 2005, but has started with first products released on 2009 (due to the long research and development and the high standard quality reached before goes to the market). The main focus is build Flash Memory Arrays for Enterprise Data Storage (note that the target is the Enterprise, and actually not the SMB). In the EMEA region they have offices in UK, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain with more than 50 people.

In the company’s board there are people with a lot of  previous experience:

  • Donald Basile – Chief Executive Officer – Prior to his role at Violin, Don was Chairman and CEO of Fusion-IO and pioneered the use of PCIe flash cards for servers and workstations.
  • Jon Bennett – Founder & CTO – Has a Bachelor of Computer Science degree (with Research Honors) from Carnegie Mellon and a Masters Degree from Harvard University.

They have a strong partnership with Toshiba for the required components of their storage.

Their products cover two different areas with two different approaches:

  • Application acceleration -> reduce the storage latency (interesting for Business Critical Applications, and not that there are some employees focused on Oracle and SQL database to help in performance tuning)
  • Virtualization -> 60% more dense (interesting for great consolidation projects)

The objective is reduce TCO, Capex, Opex in their solutions.

Products core is the Flash Memory Fabric, a resilient, highly available deep mesh of thousands of flash dies that work in concert to continuously optimize performance, latency, and longevity. Cache can work also on write to ensure maximum performance.

Contrary to SSD based systems that reuse legacy disk based architectures, the Flash Memory Fabric is the result of an all silicon system approach with patented flash optimization algorithms implemented in hardware, operating at line rate. All active components of the Flash Memory Fabric are hot-swappable for enterprise grade reliability and serviceability.

The arrays connect natively to existing 8Gb/s Fibre Channel, 10GE iSCSI, and 40Gb/s Infiniband network infrastructures. They are managed by the Violin Memory Operating System, providing a simple, easy GUI management interface for one or multiple enclosures.


In previous pictures you can notice a 6000 Series array that can reach 1 Million IOPS, latency in microseconds and up to 32 TB of RAW capacity in a 3U box.

Products are validated by several vendors, included VMware for the virtualization part (that include VAAI and a vCenter plugin), but also RHEL, SLES, Windows, Hyper-V, Citrix, AIX, Solaris SPARC, Solaris x86, HP-UX.

There are also interesting partnership with other vendor, especially with Fujitsu and Symantec:

See also: full report list of Powering The Cloud 2012 event.

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