Dell EqualLogic PS6510X review

Dell’s new EqualLogic PS6510X delivers full 10-Gigabit speeds, heaps of storage and extreme ease of use. In this exclusive review we find out if this is the IP SAN appliance enterprises have been waiting for.

Price
£80,750

As the new flagship of Dell's family of IP SAN appliances, the EqualLogic PS6510X has a keen focus on performance, capacity and cost in enterprise virtualised environments. This 4U chassis is supplied with 48 600GB 10K SAS drives and combines a 28.8TB capacity with support for 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) as standard.

High speed 10GbE is undeniably the sweet spot for IP SANs. It puts them on more than a level pegging with fibre channel as it can outperform even the latest 8Gbps FC SANs and is far more cost-effective.

The PS6510X features Dell's newly designed controllers with each sporting a pair of the latest 10GbE SFP+ modules. The appliance comes as standard with a pair of controllers which function in active/standby mode where all operations are synchronised across both of them.

There's much more as the PS6510X introduces Dell's latest firmware which brings in a range of new features. First up is automatic tiered storage which mixes SSDs and hard disks in the same array and presents them as a single storage pool.

At present, this feature supports a mix of eight SSDs and eight 15K SAS hard disks which can be placed in a single RAID-6 array. Data tiering is fully automated as the appliance places hot data on the SSDs for faster access making it highly suited to workloads exhibiting spiky' performance such as virtual desktop environments.

Management security has been improved with new role based access. You can create different users and give full access to some and dish out pool, volume or read only access to other administrators.

The multi-tenancy feature allows multiple users to share a storage group but be unaware of or unable to access other accounts managing the same group. A new account type also allows administrators to delegate volume management tasks to other trusted users.

On to the appliance itself and the PS6510X exhibits a superb built quality and design. To achieve the high storage density, the appliance employs a horizontally mounted controller board with all 48 hot-swap drives slotted in vertically.

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