BACKGROUND IMAGE: iSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
Bronze winner in Storage magazine and SearchStorage's 2018 Products of the Year storage arrays category.
Dell EMC launched PowerMax in a 2018 wholesale makeover of its longtime VMAX high-end SAN arrays.
Dell EMC PowerMax is the vendor's new all-flash flagship, billed as the first array designed end to end for NVMe flash. Use cases are the same as for VMAX: a single flash platform to consolidate file, block and mainframe storage.
Built with commodity hardware and components, PowerMax signals a renewed effort by Dell EMC in NVMe flash storage after dropping the proprietary DSSD D5 array in 2017.
PowerMax kept the VMAX multicontroller active-active design, but NVMe flash bricks replace SAS SSDs. Dell EMC claims the shared everything architecture allows data centers to scale flash storage or performance as needed.
"PowerMax is the first mission-critical array to adopt NVMe end to end. The only handicap is it ... is too expensive to address the mainstream market," said one analyst, who gave high grades for functionality, innovation and performance, but an average grade for the array's overall value.
Another analyst summed up PowerMax as "good old EMC big iron at good old EMC price."
The Dell EMC PowerMax OS added inline deduplication and compression. The vendor claims data reduction can be set per individual application without a resulting performance hit.
One PowerMax array model is rated to deliver up to 10 million IOPS per array and 150 Gbps throughput. PowerMax storage introduced predictive analytics to aid decisions on data placement, quality-of-service levels and data sets suitable for inline reduction.
Customers can get a 10 U entry PowerMax 2000 for about $150,000 with 13 TB of effective storage in a single brick. Dell EMC PowerMax 8000 is the high-capacity model that scales to 4 petabytes, or eight bricks. PowerMax arrays are preconfigured with the Dell EMC Essentials management suite and a three-year maintenance agreement.
Support for NVMe-oF and storage-class memory are on the PowerMax roadmap.