Dell has refreshed its PowerStore software, adding security updates and making energy efficiency a focal point for its storage portfolio. Experts said the update is notable and does just enough to keep the IT vendor in lockstep with competitors.
The software update, unveiled just ahead of Dell Technologies World 2023, also included additional backup and automation features. But it was Dell's emphasis on security features such as zero trust and on lowering energy costs that stood out most to analysts.
Still, Dell isn't introducing sweeping innovation as much as it's maintaining its market position against rivals such as NetApp and HPE, according to Steve McDowell, an analyst and founding partner at NAND Research.
"This update closes the competitive gap against others in the market," he said.
Steve McDowellFounding partner, NAND Research
By delivering security and power efficiency improvements through a software update, existing customers will see the benefit without requiring a hardware refresh, he said.
While the update centers on Dell PowerStore, an all-flash array, it encompasses every part of the portfolio, including a native airgap for PowerMax, NVMe/TCP and added security for PowerFlex, faster S3 performance for ObjectScale, increased Ansible support for Unity XT and extended VMware integration for CloudIQ.
Accelerating zero trust
Dell intensified the adoption of zero trust, denying access by default, to better protect against cyber attacks. PowerStore already has hardware root of trust, secure boot, data at rest encryption and cloud-based cybersecurity monitoring, according to Shannon Champion, vice president of product marketing at Dell.
The new security updates include Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIG) hardening, which ensures PowerStore meets government standards, opening opportunities for Dell. Additionally, Dell introduced immutable snapshots, while enabling a higher amount of snapshot mounts per system. The vendor also added multifactor authentication.
"Security is our No. 1 priority," said Nathan Young, CIO of Maricopa County, Ariz.
Young uses PowerStore as primary storage for the 4,000 to 6,000 documents -- from deeds to death certificates -- recorded daily. PowerStore is the primary location for the voter registration database, with information on approximately 2.6 million voters, and it houses all this data to serve up to Maricopa County's website.
Young said Dell's focus on security in this OS update goes to the heart of what Maricopa County needs. If there's an issue with document retrieval, the department could be at risk for delivering trusted services.
Power savings, PowerProtect and productivity
Dell's OS update also highlighted energy efficiency. Through a combination of existing hardware and the software update, PowerStore delivers up to 60% more IOPS per watt compared with the previous PowerStore OSes, according to Dell. The vendor also obtained Energy Star certification for its PowerStore 500 and PowerStore 1000, although the appliance remains unchanged and already included energy-efficient characteristics, Champion said.
PowerStore now features native integration with PowerProtect DD appliances, Dell's data protection product. PowerStore customers can back up directly to and restore directly from PowerProtect, which can also be set up and managed from PowerStore, Champion said.
PowerStore also has new integrations with open source automation tools Ansible, used for configuration management, and Terraform, an infrastructure-as-code platform. Dell added on to its existing Ansible module with new VMware capabilities including vVols, vCenter and VMS support, Champion said.
Maricopa County isn't currently using Ansible or Terraform, Young said, but it is exploring the use of more automation tools.
"[Much] of what we do is repetitive, especially when it comes to recording deeds," he said.
The county currently has an in-house tool for running optical character recognition scanning, but Young said he sees advantages of having a direct integration between PowerStore and tools like Ansible.
Dell also added a new app mobility module for container storage, enabling the cloning and migration of stateful application workloads to different Kubernetes clusters with a single command.
Adam Armstrong is a TechTarget Editorial news writer covering file and block storage hardware and private clouds. He previously worked at StorageReview.com.