May 19th, 2016 by Adam Armstrong
Dell Announces SCOS 7
Today Dell Inc. announced the latest version of its Storage Center Operating System (SCOS), version 7. Dell states that SCOS 7 is the results of 3 years of effort aimed around redefining the economics of enterprise storage as well as embracing and helping to accelerate the shift to flash-based architectures. Dell goes on to claim that SCOS 7 will provide unprecedented efficiency, enhanced data center flexibility, precision storage control, and a single Dell storage ecosystem.
As we are seeing other vendors do, Dell is also aggressively promoting the adoption of flash. SCOS 7 not only promotes the adoption of flash, it increases virtualization (which should elevate and abstract data control), and unifies Dell’s storage ecosystem across multiple portfolios. These abilities will help businesses address current challenges while preparing for future challenges.
- Helps lower acquisition costs across flash and hybrid arrays
- Helps lower lifecycle costs through elevated, simplified management
- Increased flexibility to respond to business and technology changes
- Enhanced support for virtualization and cloud strategies
- Increased portfolio-level investment protection.
While SCOS 7 is all about promoting flash adoption, the big barrier is still costs. Performance enhancements really get people in the door when one attempts to sell flash, but the price tag can send them running. Dell’s SC series already claims to have one of the better cost-per-gigabit basis for effective flash capacity. The SC series now offers all-flash tiers under $0.45/GB, and hard drive tiers under $0.10/GB net effective capacity. Lowering the cost barrier makes adopting flash more practical.
In a further effort to reduce costs, SCOS 7 has a comprehensive data reduction that will enable customers to store more data on fewer drives, a 10:1 reduction or better in some cases (though 3:1 or 4:1 is reported more often). SCOS 7 leverages the new Intelligent Deduplication and enhanced Intelligent Block-Level Compression. The deduplication can be turned on or off and is active on the lowest tier of media (whether that is HDDs or SSDs in an all-flash array). Using the auto-tiering feature, hot data is kept on the highest performing tier, when it cools it is moved to a lower tier where it is deduplicated. This comes with the higher costs of keeping more data on the hot tier but Dell states that customers can see as high as 93% improvement in capacity.
Dell states that SCOS 7 can help data centers be more flexible through elevating storage management control and helping customers respond to changing requirements with minimal disruption. Customers can move volumes seamlessly between arrays without re-mapping servers. Disaster recovery is also offered in 100% synchronized backup volumes. One of the main new features offering greater flexibility is Live Migration. This feature monitors clusters to recommend ideal load balancing and allows volumes to be moved anywhere in the federation without affecting workloads. SCOS 7 also helps make data centers flexible through:
- New Quality of Service features help administrators automatically allocate resources to match their unique business priorities, ensuring top performance for mission-critical apps even in contentious multi-workload environments.
- VMware VVOLs support allows provisioning, monitoring and management of storage at a virtual machine level. Together, these two features simplify management of multi-tenancy and cloud environments, helping IT managers provide consistent, policy-based storage services to their clients.
In order to unify its Dell Storage ecosystem, Dell is introducing Dell Storage Manager (DSM not to be confused with Synology’s popular DSM) software. This new software provides a common management platform with an HTML5-based interface for SC, PS and FS products. SCOS 7 will add bi-directional cross-platform replication between SC and PS arrays, and “single pane of glass” day-to-day management of both systems. Dell claims that they are the only storage vendor in the mid-range enterprise storage area to offer native cross-replication across product lines. That means PS customers can leverage existing investments if they choose to purchase SC products in the future.
Most of SCOS 7 features are available now on SC9000. General availability for the entire SC line is expected in the third quarter of 2016.