New Intelligent Storage Software Supercharges DevOps Velocity

Automation and AIOps for improving app developer and IT productivity.

With the pressure to compete on a digital playing field and an acute IT labor shortage, there’s more urgency than ever for a solution that accelerates DevOps.

Three storage software innovations are central to the solution:

    • Storage integration with cloud-native architecture that lets developers easily self-provision and consume storage.
    • Storage infrastructure with built-in intelligence that’s more adaptable and automated than ever, so ITOps can serve DevOps faster.
    • AIOps software that provides intelligent insights to ITOps for proactively resolving performance, capacity and cybersecurity issues before they impact DevOps.

Here’s how Dell applies them today and highlights of the 500+ software advancements in Dell storage systems planned for global availability in Q3 2022 and now in our CloudIQ AIOps application unless otherwise noted.

Storage Integration with Cloud-Native Architecture for Orchestrating Containers and Services

DevOps-ready infrastructure drives productivity, and Dell has the broadest DevOps-ready platform portfolio fully validated with all major hyperscalers and container orchestration platforms.1

Dell Container Storage Modules (CSM): Built on industry standard Container Storage Interface (CSI) specification, open-source CSM gives developers a rich service catalog for assigning storage services (provisioning, snapshotting, replication, observability, authorization and resiliency) to containerized applications. Dell PowerStore, PowerMax, PowerScale, PowerFlex and Unity XT all support CSM. 

What’s New:

    • Expanded CSM Support: Replication for PowerScale (available now), Resiliency for PowerScale (planned availability Q2 2022), and Resiliency for PowerFlex and Unity XT (planned availability Q3), giving developers enriched self-serve storage services
    • PowerStoreOS 3.0 and PowerMaxOS 10: Fast and easy one-click deployment of stateful applications on Kubernetes containers
    • PowerFlex 4.0: Supports all major hyperscalers and container orchestration platforms2 with file and block storage services utilizing CSI to satisfy any developer’s preference
    • Kubernetes Operator: A single GitOps friendly installer for simplified deployment of CSI drivers and CSM
    • Kubernetes 1.24 and OpenShift 4.1.0: qualification for PowerStore, PowerScale, PowerMax, PowerFlex, and Unity XT support for the very latest containerization functionality

Dell Adaptive Software Architectures: Dell storage APIs let DevOps use their favorite tools to custom-automate specialized services for their applications. Benchmarking shows that Dell programmable storage (e.g., PowerStore) reduces deployment time frames from days to seconds.3

What’s New:

    • PowerMaxOS 10: The industry’s first REST API storage provisioning for block, file, mainframe4 to automate self-service provisioning, replication and backup for mainframe data
    • Automation Services for Storage: Professional services for accelerating transformation

Storage Infrastructure with Built-in Intelligence for Operating Infrastructure with Cloud-like Ease and Scale

Storage with built-in software intelligence lets ITOps allocate and operate resources for DevOps more efficiently and cost effectively.

Automated Storage Network Configuration: Dell’s groundbreaking SmartFabric Storage Software for NVMe/TCP automates up to 99% of the configuration steps for NVMe/TCP systems in an end-to-end configuration5 (end-point registration, connectivity, zoning and storage services).

What’s New:

    • NVMe IP San solution for PowerStoreOS 3.0 and PowerMaxOS 10: Automates 100GbE and 25GbE IP SAN deployment with PowerSwitch — secure, policy-driven storage and adaptive connectivity easily scales up and out with significant cost savings

Self-Optimizing Storage: Dell storage systems’ Adaptive Software Architecture handles scores of labor-intensive tasks, such as auto-tuning efficiency, performance and availability without manual intervention (e.g., 4:1 data reduction guarantee for PowerStore).6 Self-optimization frees storage admins for more DevOps collaboration.

What’s New:

    • PowerStoreOS Dynamic Resiliency Engine: Auto-provisions NVMe media for high availability and performance end-to-end throughout the appliance
    • PowerMax0S 10 4:1 Data Reduction Guarantee7: Data reduction tools (dedupe and data compression)
    • PowerMaxOS 10 Multi-Array Smart Provisioning: Ranks array suitability for new workload placement and existing workload migration and automates optimal provisioning
    • PowerFlex Unified File and Block Storage Scale-Out Services: With file service nodes scaling from two to 16 nodes
    • Dell Unity XT 5.2 Inline Data Reduction and Dynamic Pools: For hybrid arrays, plus fan out/cascading sync replication

VMware Integration: PowerStore is the industry’s only purpose-built array with a built-in VMware ESXi hypervisor for running any application directly on storage8. Tightly integrated with VAAI, VASA and vVol to create vVols in seconds upon initialization9, PowerStore is designed for ground-breaking DevOps speed, app mobility and flexibility.

What’s New:

    • PowerStoreOS 3.0 VMware Integrations: More than any release to-date, supports VMware file, block and vVols solutions, vVols-over-NVMe, native vVols replication and native active/active sync replication over metro distances for ESXi hosts
    • PowerStoreOS 3.0 End-to-End visibility: For VMware and PowerStore object relationships and enhanced ability to provision PowerStore services at the VM level, directly from vSphere

Expansions and Upgrades: Built-in software provides automation and guard rails for data-in-place expansions and upgrades, (e.g., PowerStore Anytime Upgrade), and we’re extending them.

What’s New:

    • PowerMax Anytime Upgrades: Non-disruptive data-in-place upgrades to next-gen technology without disruption, downtime, application impact or requiring additional purchases
    • Dell Unity XT 5.2 Upgrades: Data-in-Place online upgrades: For 480/F, 680/F, 880/F Controllers
    • PowerFlex Scale-Out File Services: Unified file and block services, with new standards-based storage connectivity, simplify deployments and expand consolidation and modernization use cases
    • Smart Scale for PowerProtect DD series: Pools multiple data protection appliances (with up to 48PB of usable capacity and >3EB of logical capacity); optimizes protection storage with non-disruptive data mobility guiding workload placement and migrations

AIOps Software Intelligent Insights for Proactively Resolving Issues

To proactively identify and address capacity, performance and security risks to DevOps resources, IT is turning to AIOps software. End-user surveys indicate that CloudIQ, Dell’s AIOps application, speeds time to resolution of infrastructure issues by 2X to 10X10 and saves IT staff one workday per week on average.11

What’s New:

    • REST API for PowerStore, PowerMax, PowerScale, PowerVault, Unity XT, SC Series and Dell legacy storage (now available): facilitates messaging, service ticketing and remediation automation with third-party tools
    • Ransomware Anomaly Detection for PowerMax (planned availability Q3 2022): minimizes exposure and speeds recovery
    • Performance Anomaly Detection and Impact Analysis for PowerScale (planned availability Q2 2022): speeds triage and remediation (already available for PowerStore, PowerMax, Unity XT and Dell legacy storage)
    • Capacity Anomaly Detection for PowerStore (now available): circumvents imminent full capacity (already available for PowerMax, PowerScale, PowerVault, Unity XT and Dell legacy storage)
    • Intelligent Multi-System Upgrades for VxRail (available now): Automates software/firmware upgrades
    • Enhanced VMware integration for VxRail (available now): Emulates vCenter visualization

Companies with higher developer productivity achieve up to 5X revenue growth, 20% higher operating margins, and higher scores on innovation, CSAT, and brand perception.12 What could be a more compelling reason to embrace intelligent storage software solutions?

Learn more about Dell Technologies Storage Innovation and AIOps. 

1 Based on Dell analysis of integrated systems for Kubernetes distributions, March 2022.

2 ASW EKS, Azure Arc-Enabled Kubernetes, Google Cloud Anthos, Red Hat OpenShift, Rancher Kubernetes, and VMware Tanzu, based on Dell Analysis, March 2022.

3 Based on Dell analysis of effort required to deploy workloads on PowerStore with and without Ansible and vRO orchestration integrations. Factors in effort required to monitor, plan, define and execute volume migrations. Actual results will vary.

4 Based on Dell analysis comparing primary PowerMax REST API interface capabilities vs. competitive storage solutions, March 2022.

5 Based on internal analysis comparing NVMe/TCP discovery and registration with PowerMax/PowerStore using SmartFabric Storage Software vs competitive storage solutions, March 2022.

6 Based on 4:1 average rate guaranteed across customer applications. Rates for individual applications may vary. See Future-Proof Program terms and conditions for details.

7 Based on Dell ‘s Future-Proof program that offers 4:1 data reduction guarantee based on PowerMax data reduction tools (dedupe and data compression) for open systems storage, March 2022. Actual data reduction rates will vary.

8 Based on Dell analysis of publicly available information on current solutions from mainstream storage vendors, April 2022.

9 Based on Dell analysis of PowerStore’s native capability that lets you create vVol-based VMs as soon as you initialize your appliance. VASA provider, storage container, datastore and protocol endpoints are all created and configured automatically. Actual results will vary.

10 Based on a Dell Technologies survey of CloudIQ users conducted May through June 2021. Actual results may vary.

11 Based on a Dell Technologies survey of CloudIQ users conducted May through June 2021. Actual results may vary.

12 McKinsey, “Developer Velocity: How software excellence fuels business performance,” April 2020.

About the Author: Magi Kapoor

Magi Kapoor is a seasoned product management leader and is driving Dell Technologies Multicloud SaaS strategy. She has 20 years of experience in the storage industry with responsibilities spanning product management, systems engineering, technical marketing, business strategy, and product development. Magi has a track record of successfully launching and managing full lifecycle of multiple enterprise storage products and cloud offerings. Magi holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Iowa State University, and an MBA from Babson College. Connect with Magi on twitter @Magi_Kapoor.