Dell EqualLogic PS6100XS review

Dell's 2U server boasts redesigned controllers, a new cache-to-flash feature, plenty of room to expand and an excellent price point.

IOPS galore

For performance testing we used a Dell PowerEdge R710 rack server equipped with dual 2.53GHz E5540 Xeons plus quad Gigabit ports and ran Windows Server 2008 R2. We logged the server's iSCSI initiator onto the group's virtual IP address to enable load balancing and connected it to a 100GB virtual volume.

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MPIO links are deftly handled by Dell's host integration tool (HIT) as you choose how many sessions you want, log on to the portal and leave it to do the rest. The recommended MPIO setup is to enable jumbo frames, flow control and least queue depth.

Dell PS6100 - Data tiering

The appliance's data tiering can be seen in action here as our Iometer test file has been automatically moved on to the SSDs

Configuring Iometer with four disk workers and 64KB sequential read transfer requests, we saw an quick raw read throughput of 472MB/sec. To test maximum IOPS we changed the Iometer block size to 4KB and saw a high reading of over 40,000 IOPS.

For general SQL database performance testing, we used 256 outstanding I/Os, a 16KB block size, 66 per cent read, 34 per cent write and a 100 per cent random distribution and saw 8,550 IOPS. From the SAN HQ console we could see that activity for each test was initially spread across all drives but after a few minutes, Dell's data tiering had moved all the test data to the SSDs.

Overall

The PS6100XS clearly delivers on Dell's performance promises and also scores highly for ease of deployment and expansion potential. The revamped manufacturing processes have had a big impact on costs and this is made all the more impressive as the price includes all features as standard.

ITPRO Recommended award

Verdict

Dell’s EqualLogic PS6100XS stands out from the IP SAN crowd thanks to its ease of use, expansion potential and excellent performance. Our tests show the appliance can deliver the high IOPS demanded by heavy duty applications and Dell’s pricing structure means we have no hesitation in recommending the PS6100XS.

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Chassis: 2U rack Power: 2 x 700W hot-plug supplies Storage: 7 x 400GB SFF SSDs, 17 x 600GB SFF SAS 2 hard disks (all hot-swap) Two hot-plug controllers each with the following: Cache: 4GB with cache to flash capacitor RAID: 5, 6, 10, 50, 6 Accelerated Network: 4 x Gigabit data ports, 10/100 management port Management: CLI, web browser, Dell SAN HeadQuarters

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