February 18, 2022

3 min

Dell PowerStore Makes Advanced Storage Accessible

Automation eases IT management, while native intelligence delivers optimal performance.

Automation and agility are transforming IT infrastructure, and storage is no exception. Organizations need the flexibility to shift between on-premises and multicloud environments, as well as performance and scalability to support growth. 

Dell PowerStore, an all-flash data storage solution, was created to deliver these enterprise-level capabilities at a midrange price point. PowerStore launched in 2020, and PowerStore OS 2.1 was released in January 2022. Its architecture can support a broad range of use cases, for organizations that require high performance as well as those that are just wading into enterprise storage. 

Here’s how PowerStore aligns with today’s fast-changing business environment.

External and Internal Intelligence Drive PowerStore Automation

Externally, PowerStore can plug into any type of automation framework: VMware’s vRealize Suite, a cloud management solution; Ansible, an open-source tool that supports Infrastructure as Code; and Kubernetes clusters, along with other tools. It readily allows for external logic and programmability.

Internally, PowerStore natively uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to optimize infrastructure continuously. Data protection, performance and scalability — administrators don’t have to manually manage any of it. One of the key technologies to this internalized logic is Dell’s Dynamic Resiliency Engine, which reduces the burden on administrators. With DRE, there is no management of multiple pools or RAID sets; the technology does all of this for you.

Also, thanks to Intel’s QuickAssist Technology, PowerStore ensures that data reduction is always on, without the impact on performance that data reduction often entails. The solution also automates data placement. For administrators with multiple storage arrays, the solution can determine where to create a volume or data set. There’s literally an “Auto” box that, when checked, sets this feature in motion.

Scalability and Dynamic Resilience Bring Agility to Storage

Organizations want storage solutions that are flexible and scalable but not prohibitively expensive. PowerStore meets this demand by allowing for single-drive scalability. Historically, organizations have had to purchase multiple-drive packs, which can be costly. By contrast, PowerStore can expand one drive at a time, combining up to 96 drives in a single storage pool. 

That agility comes in part from DRE. Without dedicated spare drives, customers don’t have to park resources in an array they aren’t going to use. With PowerStore solutions, every drive participates because the software allocates space across every available device. If a physical device fails, PowerStore reallocates its data to all other devices. Once an organization has replaced a failed device, the new drive instantly joins the available pool. 

This provides resiliency, scalability and data protection at the individual drive level.

New PowerStore OS Updates NVMe Interface

When Dell released the latest version of PowerStore last year, it focused on updates to performance, autotuning and flexibility. The biggest new feature involves the Non-Volatile Memory Express interface. NVMe is a protocol for accessing high-speed storage that delivers much faster performance and lower latency compared with legacy storage protocols. It enables higher performance for applications that require it and supports new applications and capabilities for real-time workload processing. 

Traditionally, users have connected to storage arrays through Fibre Channel fabric or Ethernet switching, and that works fine for spinning-disk storage. But as organizations implement NVMe, they need high-performance connectivity to optimize the speed of their flash storage arrays. 

PowerStore 2.1 introduced NVMe-over-Fabrics for TCP (NVMe/TCP) and SmartFabric Storage Software. This allows organizations that have traditionally used the iSCSI protocol to now link directly with NVMe, providing next-generation connectivity via the same Ethernet infrastructure they used before. The transition is seamless.

This combination of performance and flexibility is a hallmark of PowerStore’s architecture, giving organizations the storage capabilities they need, both now and in the future.

Story by Jodey Hogeland, a technology evangelist within the corporate storage business unit of Dell Technologies, with a focus on Dell EMC PowerStore. He is also a well-known Executive Briefing Center presenter, industry competitive analyst, customer-focused discussion leader and technical conference speaker with 25 years of technical experience.

Dell Technologies' storage solutions are the right combination of scalability, efficiency, intelligence, and multicloud integration.