A brief recap of the announcement
On the hardware side there are a lot of news: new Series 40 controllers (now fitted with the powerful nehalem CPUs, bigger caches, more expansion slots), FCoE and 10Gbit iSCSI support, 2,5″ SAS trays.
This new hardware is the foundation for the next generation software enhancements bringing a new level of performance and scalability at the same time.
On the software verge, aside from the release of Storage Center 5.4 to support the new hardware and the new VMware integration plugin, we can find one of the most impressive features I have ever seen in the storage industry: Live Volume.
A step forward in the right direction
Before going deep into the technical details I would like to point out one important thing (that you can’t easily discern from the press release): all the features shown above are available to all Compellent customers! Yes, the Compellent software licensing model is perpetual so, if you have a support agreement in place, you can update every hardware series to the new software features (for free!) or, if you don’t need new features but merely more power, You can choose to update only your hardware!
This approach is great (customers are always happy about that): they can buy only what is necessary when they need it, not forced upgrades of hardware to get new software features or vice-versa !!!!
Furthermore, you can also add new SAS trays (or IO cards) to old generation systems without changing the controllers. I’m pretty sure that this capability is unique to Compellent (I don’t recall anyone in the industry sporting this feature) and makes a big difference with the competition, allowing customers to spend as less as possible to maintain their SAN updated!!!
Back to the core
I will not spend more time about the hardware in this article: it’s obviously much more powerful, more expandable, with more IO options while widening the backend options at the same time. It’s all you can expect from your storage vendor with a new announce, isn’t it?
But the software part of this announcement is something that you can’t ignore! I’m not talking about the better integration with the hypervisors (especially VMware with the new outstanding plugin, 😉 ), I mean Live Volume.
Live Volume is a new SOFTWARE FEATURE enabling non disruptive volumes (LUNs) movements between different arrays! Live volume is to storage as Vmotion is to virtualization. No external appliances, no constraints, no limitations it just works. Well, this features was mentioned many times in the past and many customers are already using it in production since months but now it’s official and available to everyone.
I’m sure that this feature will, in some way, disrupt the market for scale out block storage, I’m also wondering when a DRS-like technology will be applied to the Live Volume concept, that will definitely transport the virtualization benefit to the block storage world.