Compellent is introducing the new Storage Center 5 today (11th Jan, 2010). Some highlights of this announcement are: Dynamic Storage Architecture for Disaster Recovery, Automated Storage Tiering and Ease of Management for Virtual Data Centers.
Recently EMC introduced FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) for its Symmetrix, Clariion and Celerra products. Compellent has been the market leader in the offerings around Automated Storage Tiering, which it introduced around 3 years ago.
Some granular highlights of the new Storage Center 5 are:
Portable Volume Replication: Data gets replicated to a portable external drive, encrypted and shipped to a remote site for disaster recovery purposes. Mounted through USB ports.
Scalable SAS Storage: Using Storage Center 5 now customers can scale their Compellent Storage from 6 drives to 384 drives in the same unit (serial number) and using the existing enclosures.
Automated Tiered Storage for RAID 6: All data is written to RAID10 devices and then using Automated Storage Tiering, the least active portions of the data is migrated to RAID6.
Virtual Ports: Addition of virtual ports through shared physical ports will allow the customers to reduce the active number of ports on a Compellent unit and the associated switches by 50%, these ports would be able to move through physical connections and can be shared. Support for both FC and iSCSI will be available with Virtual Ports.
Server Mapping: Automation of virtual server deployment with clusters for thin provisioned volumes, which will enable addition and removal of any servers any time without an outage, enables automated multi-pathing.
Introduction of Consistency Groups: Data recovery of applications, using snapshots.
Some Drawbacks of this announcement seem to be:
Portable Volume Replication: It is probably hard to understand why customers would replicate or copy data to portable volumes and then spend money to ship the drives to a remote site. May be agreeable with slow replication links, it may take weeks to replicate all the data, but is this best way to replicate data with shipping disk drives (portable volumes). Why not just replicate data directly to a remote site with a bit of high bandwidth connection. No way is this CDP (Continuous Data Protection).
Scalability: To reduce footprint, easy manageability of data and ever growing customer demands related to data, would a 384-drive system accomplish the scalability issue?
Cost: Even though Automated Storage Tiering is a big selling point within Compellent Architecture, the product has additional licensing cost compared to a base unit. Compellent should try to make the automated storage tiering feature an included feature with all its new generation products.
Seems like Compellent solution is sort of targeted for mid-tier markets, competing with the EMC Clariions, NetApp FAS series, HP EVA’s systems. It doesn’t seem like these units will be able to withstand the brutal I/O requirements of Enterprise class storage. May be my understanding of the Compellent architecture is not so deep.
Though it is worth noting that Compellent is a very strong growing company with last 16 positive growth quarters, +1B Market Cap and around 1700 customers in 35 countries.