by Brian Beeler

Dell EqualLogic PS6210XS Hands On Preview

The new EqualLogic arrays that were announced today have several optimizations like a 64 bit architecture, improved handling of 10GbE ports, more memory for the controllers and a firmware that better makes use of flash storage. Dell claims these enhancements will add up to 3X in performance gains for certain workloads. To put these claims to the test, Dell provided StorageReview with a pre-production version of the hybrid array, which follows up the EqualLogic PS6110XS we recently reviewed. While not a comprehensive review, expect that early 2014, early hands on time with the PS6210XS reveals quite a bit about what Dell has been up to in the EqualLogic engineering labs. 

Our pre-production PS6210XS is configured similarly to the prior-generation PS6110XS; with seven mixed-use 800GB SSDs and the rest of the 2U system's bays being filled with 2.5" high-capacity HDDs. By comparison to the PS6110XS, the SSDs and HDDs are roughly the same spec-wise, but capacities of both have been doubled. 

In our early hands-on testing in our lab, we focused on random 4K as well as mixed 8k 70/30 to compare performance between the two generations of EqualLogic Hybrid Arrays. In our 4K random test, we noticed a huge improvement in both read and write performance. 4K random read speeds were up 3.42x over the PS6110XS with the faster 2nd revision of SSDs, and 3.54x faster than the launch SSDs Dell originally shipped with the unit when it was first released. Comparing 4K write performance, we noted improvements of 2.01x to 2.82x.

In our next workload measuring 8K 70/30 performance, we saw big improvements as well. Across the board comparing the new PS6210XS to the two configurations of the PS6110XS we tested, we saw gains of 1.34x to 1.93x across the spectrum against the late-config model and gains of 1.72x to 2.05x against the early-config version. In all, the new hybrid EqualLogic showed strong performance gains over all thread and queue combinations.

We had already seen the EqualLogic team adapt with progressive technology updates when we swapped out the original SSDs for updated models in the PS6110XS. The PS6210XS is a major step forward for Dell though, incorporating new pieces of hardware and firmware to drive more than their quoted 3X improvement in some cases. Once we receive final hardware in the lab, we'll complete a formal review of the new system, but for now in the small workloads we've completed with the pre-production unit, it looks like Dell has a lot of upside for their customers with the enhancements made to the PS6210 family of EqualLogic arrays. 

UPDATE 4/4/2014 - Dell EqualLogic PS6210XS Review Posted

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