In my almost nine years of working at Dell Storage, this has got to be our most exciting software release. A while back, the EqualLogic and Compellent product lines were unified under the Dell Storage umbrella and rebranded as Dell PS Series and SC Series. But that was only the beginning. A lot of work has been going on under the hood, and with the release of Storage Center OS (SCOS) version 7.0, it is gaining speed.

First out of the gate is a rebranding of Dell Enterprise Manager (EM) to Dell Storage Manager (DSM). With many Dell Storage customers having both PS Series and SC Series arrays, we’ve unified the platforms under one interface and added day-to-day management of PS Series. DSM provides a single user interface for provisioning storage and much more – check out Chuck Armstrong's DSM day-to-day management video. We’ve also snuck in a technical preview of the future DSM HTML5 GUI. You can check out this production-ready, limited-scope release at https://<DSM_hostname>:3033/ui. Don’t forget to send us feedback using the Tell us what you think link in the GUI.

Coupled with the DSM release are the updates of SCOS 7.0 and PS Series firmware 9.0. These extend the value of customers’ existing investment in Dell Storage by added cross-platform replication that enables bi-directional replication between PS Series and SC Series arrays. PS Series customers can continue to leverage their investment while introducing SC Series arrays to their data centers. Likewise, SC Series customers are provided with additional price and performance options. Chuck Farah goes into detail about cross-platform replication in this blog post, solutions guide, and video series.

For PS Series customers seeking to move to SC Series at a more rapid pace, we’ve extended the Thin Import feature introduced in SCOS 6.7. With the release of SCOS 7.0, Thin Import supports the online migration of vSphere datastores. Kris Piepho authored a Thin Import solutions guide that covers this in great detail and Dan Curran recorded a Thin Import video. Thin Import derived its name because during the data migration process, any zeroed blocks are discarded, resulting in a thin SC Series volume. Although it is uncommon that a company will actively enable you to use less of their product, at Dell we strive to continuously extend the value of our customers’ investment in our products. For the same reason, the Data Reduction capability introduced in SCOS 6.5 is being extended to also perform data deduplication in addition to compression, to enable even more data to be stored on your existing SC Series arrays. Kris has also authored a deduplication solutions guide and video so that you can see it in action.

Another fantastic addition to SC Series array functionality follows up from last year’s release of virtual volumes (VVol) on PS Series. Simply put, VVol makes SAN storage virtual-machine aware, so that the SAN is able to offer better and more granular services to individual virtual machines. Jason Boche has authored a VVol solutions guide for this feature and recorded a great VVol video series that covers technical aspects of VVol that often get glossed over.

To help contain those noisy-neighbor volumes that consume excessive I/O, Dell Storage has also added volume QoS. You now have the ability to constrain them, and avoid I/O contention — a valuable feature in any shared storage environment. Darin Schmitz wrote a volume QoS best practices guide and volume QoS video demonstrating the impact and benefits of QoS.

Earlier, I mentioned a lot of changes going on under the hood. One of these changes was the addition of the PS Series iSCSI stack into the SC Series pluggable architecture; in SCOS 7.0 we’ve enhanced it with the addition of Data Center Bridging (DCB). Think of DCB as tagging iSCSI packets so that they receive priority of regular LAN traffic on a shared network infrastructure. Like many networking technologies, it must be enabled end to end. This and other important information is covered in Steven Lemons’ iSCSI DCB solution guide and iSCSI DCB video.

Happy reading from the Dell Storage engineering team.