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Dell revamps storage with PowerStore Prime

Dell is combining programs and features into its main storage product PowerStore; this prime version brings higher performance, QLC and an Apex AI assistant.

LAS VEGAS -- Dell added new software and hardware performance for its PowerStore storage arrays, along with expanded multi-cloud options and an AI assistant.

At Dell Technologies World 2024, the company unveiled PowerStore Prime, a combination of Dell's unified or block-optimized PowerStore systems that includes hardware options with expanded lifecycle management, flexibility in density choice and more purchasing options. PowerStore Prime includes a software update that enables the arrays to run more efficiently, as well as a new all quad-level cell (QLC) storage model with up to 5.9 petabytes per appliance. PowerStore has more choice, with the inclusion of PowerStore to Dell Apex Block Storage for Public Cloud.

For Apex, an as-a-service subscription portfolio, the vendor rolled out Dell Apex AIOps for infrastructure and application observability, which expands on the company's AIOps portfolio. The Dell Apex Navigator SaaS, Dell's management software, now includes a generally available Kubernetes storage management feature and expanded multicloud storage management with support for Apex File Storage for AWS.

The emphasis on PowerStore is unsurprising, given its importance to the vendor's storage portfolio, according to Henry Baltazar, research director at 451 Research, which is part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

"If you're a small company, it is your storage product," he said. "If you're a high-end company, it's your business-critical storage."

Pumping the PowerStore Prime

As part of its update to its PowerStore line, Dell is introducing PowerStoreOS 4.0, the latest version of its PowerStore operating system that increases the array's performance by up to 30% and its data reduction capabilities by up to 20%, according to the company.

PowerStoreOS 4.0 also adds new data protection features, including synchronous replication for block-and-file workloads and native metro replication for Windows, Linux and VMware environments. The update from PowerStoreOS 3.6, which was introduced last fall, comes at no additional cost to customers and is expected to be available by the end of May. It can also be accessed through Apex.

Dell is looking to put PowerStore back in the shop window.
Simon RobinsonAnalyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

Dell is updating PowerStore at a time when block storage is becoming a competitive part of the market, according to Simon Robinson, an analyst at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group. He pointed to recent block storage updates from HPE and NetApp as examples.

"Dell is looking to put PowerStore back in the shop window," Robinson said.

QLC and controller upgrades

PowerStore is also adding a quad-level cell storage model, the 3200Q. QLC lowers costs compared with triple-level cell and can scale up to 5.9 petabytes of effective capacity per appliance.

QLC brings higher-capacity flash at a lower cost, according to Baltazar. All primary storage competitors have a QLC offering, allowing them to lower the cost of flash.

"The thing with capacity flash is the realization that not everything has to be high-performance flash," Baltazar said.

Dell is expanding its Anytime Upgrades, a controller-in-place replacement program it began in 2020. The new update adds Dell's ProSupport, maintenance and support offerings to the controller-swapping program.

In conjunction with added performance and support, controller upgrades provide customers a path to sustainable storage, Baltazar said.

"Customers want things like power consumption reduction, rackspace reduction, but another thing that is really highlighted is having longer lifecycles," he said.

The more controller upgrade programs grow, the less waste companies are generating, Baltazar said.

Apex, AI and assistants

Dell is also introducing a generative AI assistant into Apex AIOps. The assistant provides Apex customers with a natural language interface to address infrastructure questions , according to Dell.

"[If the environment] doesn't have a SAN storage admin, or an admin that only does storage, this is more of an appeal for that environment," Robinson said.

Dell is expanding its Apex Navigator SaaS offering, as well. Dell Apex Navigator for Kubernetes is now generally available. Dell Apex Navigator for Multicloud Storage, which was introduced last year at Dell Tech World, now includes support for Apex File Storage for AWS, with file storage for Azure planned later this year. The multicloud storage manager enables customers to deploy, configure and manage Dell storage in multicloud environments through the Apex console.

Kubernetes has been around for a decade, but it is not as mainstream as something like virtual machines, Robinson said. There is still a need for skilled workers, the same way as there is for general storage management, he said.

"For cloud native applications, [Kubernetes] has gotten a lot easier," he said. "But once you're starting to run more stateful things like databases, that is where it is going to get more complicated."

Adam Armstrong is a TechTarget Editorial news writer covering file and block storage hardware and private clouds. He previously worked at

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