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Dell adds hybrid solid-state EqualLogic arrays for VDI storage

Dell expands its EqualLogic hybrid solid-state array lineup with new PS6500 Series systems that use flash to accelerate IOPS for VDI storage.

Dell Inc. this week said it's adding hybrid solid-state arrays tailored for the high IOPS required for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments to its high-end EqualLogic iSCSI SAN PS6500 Series.

The company's new EqualLogic PS6510ES and PS6500ES arrays are the first hybrid systems within the PS6500 Series, which is Dell's highest-end iSCSI platform. The new models scale up to 84.8 terabytes (TBs) of raw capacity, and can hold seven 400 GB solid-state drives (SSDs) and 41 2-TB nearline-SAS hard disk drives.

In comparison, early systems in the PS6500 Series -- the EqualLogic PS6500E, PS6500X, PS6510E and PS6510X -- have 48 hard drives that include combinations of SATA, SAS or nearline SAS.

"The main difference is that we're rolling out arrays with a much larger spinning disk count," said Laz Vekiarides, executive director for software engineering for EqualLogic at Dell. "The arrays are optimized for VDI workloads, allowing IOPs to be accelerated. The VDI market is expanding. There are more deployments, and this tells you that VDI is becoming more mainstream."

The PS6500ES array supports Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) network interface cards, while the PS6510ES supports 10 GbE. The new systems, which are designed to handle workloads in data warehouses, online transactional databases and media applications, can be combined with other EqualLogic PS Series arrays in the same SAN group, as many as 16 systems per group.

The hybrid solid-state arrays do automated tiering between the SSDs and nearline SAS, so hot data is more accessible on a faster tier and colder data is on standby, Vekiarides said. "Knowledge workers create a lot of content that's cold data," he said. "Workers in call centers generally don't have private data, or [they have] very little of it. In these implementations, the need for more spinning media isn't as great."

The PS6500ES and PS6510ES support the Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for VMware 3.5. The integration software includes Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) and EqualLogic's next-generation VMware vCenter plug-in, so administrators can allocate storage and centrally manage multiple EqualLogic groups.

VSM for VMware comes with a Virtual Desktop Deployment that allows administrators to provision virtual desktops from the VMware vCenter interface.

Vekiarides said the arrays and the Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for VMware 3.5 will be available by the end of the year.

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