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Dell EMC all-flash SC Series prepped for launch

Dell EMC all-flash inclusive added to the mix for SC Series and Unity arrays. The vendor said each of the midrange storage products has a large customer base.

Dell EMC on Tuesday completed its midrange storage refresh by adding all-flash to its SC Series hybrid arrays. It also integrated inline data deduplication to the Dell EMC Unity arrays launched in 2015.

New Dell EMC all-flash storage includes the SC Series 5020F and 7020F. Dell EMC said the all-flash SC arrays will be generally available Dec. 5. And, as part of a new customer loyalty program, Dell EMC buyers will receive a one-year subscription to Virtustream hybrid cloud for tiering snapshots on SC and Unity arrays.

"This shows Dell EMC is continuing to increase the longevity of the SC Series. They are making it a more flash-centric architecture by adding inline dedupe," said Scott Sinclair, a senior storage analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass.

Dell EMC expands reach of flash storage

This marks the second SC Series product rollout since Dell and EMC finalized an IT industry-record $67 billion merger in 2016. SC5020 and SC7020 hybrid arrays hit the market in September.

SC Series is Dell EMC's flagship hybrid line aimed at midsize customers. Dell acquired the SAN array technology in 2011 from Compellent. It also sells the PS Series SAN arrays, formerly branded as EqualLogic.

Brian Henderson, director of Dell EMC midrange product marketing, said the new SC arrays are designed for capacity and data mobility. For now, both all-flash and hybrid SC arrays will run the same SCOS operating system, but Henderson said Dell EMC will eventually release separate code for each model.

"There are some customers that want to use all flash all the time. They want predictable performance and to ensure data won't tier to [media] that degrades performances. We will be making optimizations in our OS to ensure the systems always perform at their best," Henderson said.

Dell EMC's all-flash SC Series arrays are multiprotocol 3U appliances with dual active-active controllers. SC5020F comes with 128 GB of memory and eight-core Intel Xeon processors. With expansion shelves, the SC5020F array scales to 2 PB of raw capacity. The SC Series 7020F array contains 256 GB of memory, a total of 16 cores and 3 PB of raw storage.

Henderson said SC Series all-flash arrays are rated to deliver 399,000 IOPS per array and 3.9 million IOPS in a federated cluster.

Capacity, cloud mobility are the thrust of upgrade

The latest models include a built-in LUN virtualization layer in the SCOS operating system. The feature enables LUNs to be moved dynamically outside the base array by keeping storage connections intact. LUN virtualization is part of a new SCOS feature called Volume Advisor, which handles intelligent data placement.

Volume Advisor virtualizes and moves LUNs without downtime or reconfiguring host settings as part of live migration, Henderson said.

Dell EMC all-flash pricing bundles the Dell Storage Manager software suite on SC Series arrays. Customers with hybrid SC Series models were required to purchase the software packages separately.

The arrays ship ready to link to federated clusters to allow workloads to migrate with data redundancy, including load balancing and automated failover. The SC Series performs data reduction with post-process data deduplication.

Inline deduplication is among the enhancements integrated in a software update for Dell EMC Unity all-flash and hybrid midrange systems. Unity deduplicates blocks before it compresses data. Other enhancements support synchronous file replication and data-in-place online controller upgrades.

Midrange storage is the biggest area of overlap in the Dell EMC storage portfolio, but the vendor plans to keep the product lines intact. Other Dell EMC midrange storage includes the VNX and VNXe arrays.

"We are not choosing one [midrange] product over another. Both SC and Unity have large and satisfied customer bases," Henderson said.

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