Dell has announced a refresh of its midrange line of EqualLogic storage arrays, which are aimed at small-to-midsize businesses and remote corporate offices.

The new PS4100 and PS6100 storage area networks (SANs) are follow-ons to the PS4000 and PS6000 boxes. The new arrays offer a 50 percent increase in density by offering the use of 2.5 inch drives, and allow users to choose to use solid state drives.

The new arrays include the first sub-$10,000 EqualLogic model. Because all PS-series arrays are managed by the same software, the various models can be combined and viewed through a single interface.

Hardware improvements

Travis Vigil, executive director of Dell Storage, said the new hardware platforms offer up to a 67% improvement in I/O throughput. The new family includes 2.5-in SAS, SATA and SSD drives, he added.

The 2U (3.5-in high) PS4100 array has up to 21.6TB capacity with 2.5-in drives and 36TB with 3.5-in drives. The PS6100 array comes in a 2U enclosure with both 2.5 or 3.5 inch drives, and also be purchased in a 4U enclosure that can increase maximum capacity to 72TB.

A full 42U rack of PS6100s can hold up to 1.2PB of data.

The arrays support not only 7200rpm SATA drives, but also 10,000rpm and 15,000rpm SAS drives, along with 400GB SSDs.

Both PS series' come with Dell EqualLogic's new firmware, version 5.1, which Vigil said can boost performance by up to 3 times. The new firmware also allows for data centre bridging using Ethernet instead of traditional Fibre Channel. The updated firmware is qualified for use with VMware's vSphere 5.0 cloud software APIs.

The firmware also lets the systems support VMware's vStorage APIs for Array integration (or VAAI), VMware's vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA), VMware's Dynamic Resource Scheduling and vCenter Storage Resource Manager v5.0.

Network storage gateway

Dell this month also started shipping the new EqualLogic FS7500, its latest network attached storage gateway appliance that can be used for file-based storage on EqualLogic PS series arrays.

The company unveiled the FS7500 in June. The FS7500 appliance supports single domain name space capability under which it is currently validated to store up to 510TB of data with file sizes of up to 4TB.

John Everett, storage manager at Dell EMEA, told Computerworld UK that the "price competitiveness" of the new offerings was vital in the current climate. He added: "Many businesses now have the budget again for technology, but there are multiple layers of sign-off."

"Their decisions are made on trust, so we make it clear to them that the pricing is all-inclusive and there will be no vendor lock-in."