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Solving Data Storage with Dell Technologies

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IT organizations are facing a perfect storm of disruptive challenges. Massive data growth, driven by digital transformation, is expected to further explode with AI and machine learning. The rise of multicloud is introducing complexity and creating new siloes of data, while the increasingly distributed IT landscape and sophisticated cyber threats have made disruptions inevitable and costly. To compound matters, surging global energy prices have raised the cost of maintaining critical applications, risking infrastructure overload. Organizations that want to address these challenges and innovate with their data need powerful yet cost-efficient solutions that can simplify data management, increase performance, ensure resiliency and make data continuously available. Dell Technologies, a global leader in data storage, provides a broad range of solutions to break through technology barriers and help organizations large and small innovate with their data.

Explore Dell Enterprise Data Storage Solutions

Get breakthrough efficiency, cyber resiliency, and multicloud flexibility with software-driven storage from Dell.Whether to support general & next generation application , AI, high performance computing, or cold storage Dell Technologies has the storage solution for your organization.

Data Storage Challenges in the 21st Century

Data today is more diverse than ever and resides in more locations, thanks to next-generation technologies like generative AI, advanced data anaytics, the Internet of Things, mobile computing, hybrid/multicloud applications and cloud-native Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, in addition to traditional on-premises enterprise applications and databases. The challenges for managing data today include:

The overarching challenge of data storage is to build a modern data infrastructure that can support the entire data footprint and enable intelligent and efficient data management at any scale in order to deliver timely insights and business value.

Benefits of Dell Data and File Storage Solutions

Benefits of Dell Data and File Storage Solutions

Dell’s data storage technologies enable you to:

  • Simplify your data landscape. Streamline your data storage needs with extensive coverage for enterprise workloads.
  • Automate data services. Simplify storage management with policy-based automation and data mobility capabilities to quickly move data between environments or clouds.
  • Extract insight from data. Dell provides a complete portfolio of solutions to unlock the value of data capital, along with tight integration with leading applications and analytics platforms.
  • Optimize any workload at scale. Automate management to control costs and empower end-users with extensive self-service capabilities that lighten the load on IT.
  • Secure your data assets. Significantly reduce application outages and latency issues while reducing storage requirements and network loads with advanced storage and deduplication.

Dell Technologies Data Storage Solutions

Dell provides a portfolio of data storage technology for modern and legacy applications. Architected for a variety of data sets – including unstructured, semi-structured and structured data – Dell solutions provide a variety of I/O characteristics and service level agreements that enable IT teams to choose the optimal balance of performance, cost and flexibility.

Optimize your Data Storage Solutions

Dell Optimize for Infrastructure service provides IT teams with ongoing guidance from a designated storage expert to make sure mission-critical systems are configured and operating at peak performance. Optimize for Storage delivers personalized guidance and actionable next steps that result in significantly less risk of data loss, downtime and business delays. A Dell storage expert orchestrates a host of tools and resources to analyze, evaluate and report on storage health through daily system monitoring, deep-dive configuration & performance evaluations, and annual strategic planning sessions.

Simplicity, agility and control with the Dell APEX portfolio of storage solutions

Dell's Offerings: Dell presents a range of top-tier software-defined storage solutions. These include:

  • Object-storage, available as a software-defined model or a turnkey appliance.
  • Enterprise-class, high-performance scaleout block and file storage delivered on-premises or in the cloud.
  • Hyperconverged & converged systems designed to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and simplify a myriad hyperscaler and container orchestration platforms for block and file, across bare metal and hypervisors,
  • Supported by a full complement of services and programs designed to maximize the value of a customer’s SDS investments.

 Benefits of software-defined storage systems:

Benefits of software-defined storage systems:
  • Enhanced control: SDS fosters intelligent interactions between workloads and storage, offering dynamic storage provisioning and adapting to organizational needs.
  • Agility: Supports both traditional and modern IT consumption models, promoting agility across various platforms.
  • Scalability: Allows IT teams to provision tiered storage based on current requirements.

Enabling software-defined storage with software-defined data centers

Simplicity, agility and control with the Dell APEX portfolio of storage solutions

Dell APEX offers a range of block, file and protection storage solutions to meet the most demanding and diverse workload requirements:

  • Software-defined storage for public cloud is a comprehensive enterprise-class family of native public cloud block, file and protection storage software. Simplify operations with a consistent experience across on-premises and public cloud environments, enhance agility with seamless multicloud data mobility, and ensure control with enterprise-class reliability and unparalleled cyber-resiliency.
  • Storage as-a-Service for private cloud enables you to choose the service levels your workloads require and pay for what you use. Deploy on-premises in your data center or Dell-managed interconnected colocation facility, enabling you to connect to the customers, partners, and ecosystems that deliver the most value. Simplify the process of purchasing, deploying and maintaining infrastructure with this as-a-Service portfolio of storage resources.


Enabling software-defined storage with software-defined data centers

Enterprise IT organizations and infrastructure operations leaders are the primary beneficiaries of software defined data centers (SDDC). The appeal lies in its ability to offer unparalleled flexibility and agility in business processes. SDDC facilitates rapid app deployment, enhances app availability, and optimizes IT resource utilization. This efficiency is further amplified with the increasing adoption of cloud services.

SDDCs stands out by abstracting all infrastructure components - be it compute, networking, storage, security, or availability services. These are then delivered as automated, policy-driven software services. By leveraging virtualization, SDDC eradicates operational siloes and complexities, offering a programmatic approach. The result? Customers enjoy optimal performance and availability, all while mitigating risks and reducing costs.

Software-defined Storage with Dell

With the advent of next-generation applications influenced by big data and the Internet of Things, organizations are gravitating towards software-defined storage (SDS) for enhanced agility, resilience, scalability, and cost-efficiency. SDS uses software to manage physical data storage on standard servers, separating storage management software from the hardware. This decoupling allows for independent acquisition of hardware and software, freeing organizations from proprietary platforms. SDS solutions can be swiftly deployed and are easy to manage. They support multiple workloads and various use cases, simplifying managing diverse storage media.

Object storage, distinct from file hierarchy or block storage, manages data as objects within a storage pool. This architecture offers:

  • Unlimited scalability: For growing data needs.
  • Faster Data retrieval: Enhanced by customizable metadata.
  • Cost-effective storage: Especially at scale.
  • On-premises benefits: On-premises object storage solutions are gaining traction due to the limitations of public clouds. Physical separation between off-premises cloud storage and on-premises applications can hinder data mobility, introduce unexpected costs, and raise data residency and compliance issues. A hybrid/multi-cloud storage architecture, inclusive of on-premises object storage, can mitigate these challenges.

Dell's Enterprise-grade object storage options, are tailored for both traditional and next-gen workloads.

They offer:

  • Versatility: Available as a turnkey appliance, a software-defined storage solution, or a Dell-hosted service.
  • Economical scalability: manage the challenges of unstructured data storage at any scale.
  • Unified data view: Store vast data volumes in a single pool.
  • Hardware freedom: Use industry-standard hardware and avoid vendor lock-in.
  • Benefits of Dell's object storage: Dell's platform offers modern infrastructure, increased ROI, superior storage efficiency, enhanced data visibility, and support for cloud-native applications.

Dell Object Storage: Powering Digital Transformation

As the digital transformation wave sweeps across industries, accessing data and its insights in real-time becomes vital. Technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning demand more from storage solutions than traditional systems can provide. With business data volumes doubling annually, there's a pressing need for storage solutions that offer performance, control, security, and compliance, all while being cost-effective. Dell Technologies offers object storage that meets these challenges, rivaling public cloud solutions in scale.

  • Expanding data volumes: Organizations must transfer significant data to secondary storage, which can be substantially larger than primary storage.
  • Rising costs: As data grows, secondary storage costs can surpass primary storage expenses.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Numerous regulations necessitate stricter data control, complicating secondary storage management.
  • Access requirements: Data in secondary storage, though accessed less frequently, should be readily available to various users without IT intervention.

Dell’s data protection for Archives can efficiently captures, indexes, stores, manages, retrieves, and disposes of both structured and unstructured data. This solution optimizes storage tiers, reclaims primary storage space, and ensures compliance with regulations.

These offerings includes tools for managing data in Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, file systems, and IBM Lotus Notes Domino. Optional components enhance eDiscovery processes and ensure compliance with regulations and corporate policies.

  • Cost efficiency: Optimize storage tiers, move inactive data to secondary storage, and reduce WAN bandwidth costs.
  • Performance enhancement: Accelerate backup speeds and improve server performance.
  • Compliance: Automatically enforce data archiving and retention policies.
  • Simplified management: Centralized tools for archiving in various environments, including on-premises servers, virtualized settings, and clouds.
Cloud management for the cloud tier offers efficient cloud data protection, simplifying secondary storage and long-term retention in the cloud. Dell offerings supports various public and private clouds, reduces storage costs with cloud alternatives, and ensures secure data protection.

Optimizing Costs and Performance with Secondary Storage

Secondary storage refers to storage devices and systems designed to store data that is not accessed frequently. It serves as a repository for data backups, archiving, and data that doesn't need to be on primary storage or main memory. As the volume of business data continues to expand, businesses must move increasingly large amounts of data to secondary storage in order to reduce storage costs and to optimize performance of servers and applications. However, as secondary storage expands, costs can escalate, and management can become cumbersome. Dell offers intelligent data management solutions that enhance the value derived from secondary storage, curbing costs and administrative challenges.

The need for hybrid storage:

  • Data Growth: As data volumes double annually, organizations face the challenge of managing this data efficiently.
  • Performance vs. Cost: While flash storage offers unparalleled performance, storing all data on flash can be prohibitively expensive. Hybrid storage offers a middle ground, ensuring critical data is readily accessible while less crucial data is stored cost-effectively.

Dell's hybrid storage offerings:

  • Combine the power of flash storage with the cost efficiency of spinning media to satisfy the requirements of general-purpose workloads that don’t need the sub millisecond latencies of all-flash/NVMe architectures.
  • Can be deployed in various configurations, including physical storage, software-defined storage, or converged infrastructure.

Benefits of Dell's Hybrid Storage:

  • Performance & Efficiency: Dell's platform delivers the speed of flash storage combined with the affordability of disk storage. Automated tiering and SSD caching intelligently leverage flash storage, enhancing performance and efficiency while curbing costs.
  • Ease of Management: With intuitive interfaces and integrations with VMware and Microsoft, Dell's hybrid storage is user-friendly. A self-service portal facilitates quick issue resolution, and data migration tools ensure seamless data transfers.
  • Versatility: Dell's hybrid storage supports both enterprise and transactional network attached storage use cases, offering a large file system and near-real-time storage analytics through Dell CloudIQ.

Harnessing Unstructured Data Storage and Distributed File Systems with Dell Technologies

In the modern digital era, the influx of unstructured data is reshaping the way organizations operate. This data, ranging from emails and images to videos and social media content, presents both challenges and opportunities. To effectively manage and harness the potential of unstructured data, distributed file storage systems have become indispensable. Dell stands at the forefront, offering robust solutions that seamlessly integrate unstructured data management with the capabilities of distributed file systems.

Why is unstructured data storage a challenge?

  • Data volume: Unstructured data, making up about 80% of an organization's data set, is doubling annually. This growth necessitates efficient storage solutions that can manage vast data volumes without compromising on performance.
  • Performance expectations: Modern workloads, including AI tools ideal for analyzing unstructured data, demand high-speed storage. Solutions must be expansive yet fast and efficient. Distributed file storage systems, with their inherent scalability and efficiency, are the answer.
  • Cost and efficiency: The escalating costs of unstructured storage and management further complicate matters. Organizations need solutions that offer reduced power consumption, improved resource utilization, and a lower total cost of ownership. Distributed file systems offer a balance, optimizing costs while ensuring data accessibility.

Why use distributed file storage systems?

Integrating unstructured data with distributed file systems allows organizations to store, access, and analyze their data efficiently, ensuring optimal performance and actionable insights.

Dell's unstructured data solutions

  • Embody the essence of distributed storage with scale-out network-attached storage and are designed to cater to the diverse needs of unstructured data, from flash to hybrid to archive storage.
  • Include the next evolution in enterprise object storage, capable of scaling to any capacity and connecting sites with a few simple clicks, serving as your globally accessible data lake for enterprise workloads such as cloud-native, AI, analytics and archiving.

Virtual Tape Library (VTL)

Technician Examining Server in Server Room

The Virtual Tape Library (VTL) is a disk-based backup system that emulates the functions of physical tapes. It offers a modern approach to data backup, merging the familiarity of tape-based systems with the advantages of disk-based storage.

How a VTL works: Traditional VTLs often serve as a frontend cache to a tape library infrastructure, providing temporary relief to backup window challenges. However, they face limitations in cost-efficiently retaining backup data for extended periods. Dell's VTL software stands out by emulating multiple tape devices over a Fibre Channel interface, eliminating tape-related failures. It can emulate up to 64 virtual tape libraries with a vast number of virtual slots and cartridges, offering dynamic adaptability.

Benefits of a VTL: The primary advantage of a VTL is its ability to integrate effortlessly with existing Fibre Channel or tape-based infrastructures. Dell's VTL software is compatible with leading backup applications, ensuring easy integration into Fibre Channel SAN backup environments. With support for multiple data access methods and simple administration, VTLs offer flexibility, allowing users to adapt to evolving enterprise needs swiftly.

Delving into Block Storage

Isle of Server Racks

Block storage is a fundamental storage interface predominantly found at the driver level of most storage media. It operates by reading and writing data in blocks, using their specific block addresses on a formatted disk. While many applications, including prominent RDBMS applications like Oracle, SQL, and DB2, utilize block storage for their persistent I/O operations, others rely on file systems to mediate between the block storage interface and the application's file I/O operations. Storage Area Networks (SAN) consistently present a block storage interface to client applications.

  • Benefits of block storage: Block storage boasts superior performance and speed compared to file-level storage systems. Each block volume operates as an independent storage drive, managed by an external server OS. Dell NVMe all-flash storage or hybrid storage, are each designed to harness the advantages of block storage for diverse needs.

Server SAN Technology

IT Professional Working in a Data Center

Server SAN is a software-led storage solution built on standard x86 servers equipped with Directly Attached Storage (DAS). This innovative approach pools storage resources from multiple servers' DAS, creating a unified storage environment. By leveraging standardized commodity hardware, including hyperconverged appliances, Server SAN enables organizations to run applications on the same server as compute and storage, optimizing performance and efficiency.

  • Benefits of server SAN: Server SAN unites the advantages of traditional SAN architectures while significantly reducing complexity and costs. It offers enhanced flexibility in mapping storage to applications, eliminating the intricacies of SAN network architectures. The pooled resources provide exceptional scalability in terms of performance and capacity. Moreover, Server SAN's design ensures a more streamlined application design and operation, further enhancing performance.
  • How server SAN works: While DAS is typically internal to a server and isn't designed for scalability or sharing, Server SAN changes the game. It merges compute capabilities and pools DAS from various servers. Communication between these DAS units is facilitated through high-speed network connections, such as InfiniBand or low-latency Ethernet. The storage resources are then managed by a dedicated software solution, allowing for multiprotocol storage that can utilize both spinning disks and flash storage.

Data Storage FAQs

Data storage refers to the task of keeping or archiving digital data on different kinds of media for use by computers and other devices.

File storage refers to the storing of data in files and directories. It's a hierarchical storage methodology where data is saved in files, nested within directories, making it easy to locate and access. Dell's file and/or unifiedstorage systems offer advanced features to manage and optimize this hierarchical data efficiently.

Object storage, or object-based storage, is a flexible architecture that manages data as objects within a storage pool, as opposed to using a file hierarchy or block storage system. Each object in this system contains the data, a unique identifier, and detailed metadata that describes the data. This unique identifier allows the object to be located in a distributed system. The structure of object storage offers unlimited scalability, faster retrieval of information due to customizable metadata, and cost-effective storage, especially when scaling. Unlike traditional file systems that store data in files and folders, object storage breaks files into discrete units known as objects. Object storage is particularly suitable for unstructured data storage and is designed to provide enhanced scalability, faster data access, and more efficient storage solutions, especially in the context of vast data volumes.

Secondary storage is designed for infrequent data access, using high-capacity, low-performance, and cost-effective storage devices.

Hybrid storage combines flash storage, known for its high performance, with other cost-efficient storage media. This blend allows organizations to store data on a single platform, balancing performance and cost.

Flash storage is an electronic data storage medium that offers faster response times than traditional hard drives, using less power and cooling.

Unstructured data refers to any data not contained within a database, including text, emails, social media posts, images, videos, and application logs.

Comprising about 80% of an organization's data, unstructured data holds immense insights about the organization, its customers, partners, and market dynamics. Although unstructured data storage may be challenging, organizations that fail to utilize it risk putting themselves at a disadvantage.

A system where data is stored on a central storage device but accessed and processed as if it was on a local client machine, allowing network users to share information in a controlled and authorized manner.

At its core, unified storage is a platform connected to a network, offering both file-based and block-based data storage services to other network devices. It employs standard file protocols like the Common Internet File System (CIFS) and Network File System (NFS), as well as block protocols like Fibre Channel (FC) and Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI). This ensures that users and applications can access consolidated data on a single device without hitches.

Organizations equipped with general-purpose servers, which typically use internal or direct-attached storage for shared file systems, applications, and virtualization, find unified storage particularly beneficial. By replacing traditional file servers, unified storage consolidates data for applications and virtual servers onto a singular, efficient, and potent platform.

A Virtual Tape Library (VTL) is a disk-based backup system that emulates the functions and characteristics of physical tape libraries. Instead of writing data to actual tapes, VTLs store data on disk drives, offering faster data retrieval and backup speeds. While they provide the benefits of disk storage, VTLs maintain the familiarity of tape-based systems, allowing organizations to integrate them seamlessly into existing backup processes.

Virtual Tape Libraries (VTLs) are primarily used by organizations that have existing backup infrastructures and processes. These VTLs ingest data over a Fibre Channel interface, ensuring seamless integration. While many backup software solutions support direct backup to disk using standard file protocols like NFS and CIFS, VTLs provide an added layer of emulation, making the transition from traditional tape systems smoother.

Block storage is a type of data storage wherein data is stored in fixed-sized blocks or chunks. Each block functions as an individual hard drive and is identified by a unique block address, allowing data to be stored in and retrieved from specific locations on the storage media. Unlike file storage systems, where data is stored in files and folders, block storage deals with raw data blocks, making it ideal for applications like databases and SANs that require fine-grained access to data.

Main types of storage media include hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state disks (SSDs), optical storage and tape. HDDs read and write data to spinning discs coated in magnetic media. SSDs store data on nonvolatile flash memory chips and have no moving parts. Optical data storage uses lasers to store and retrieve data from optical media, typically a spinning optical disc. Tape storage records data on magnetic tape.

Server SAN, or Server Storage Area Network, is a modern storage solution that combines the capabilities of standard servers with Directly Attached Storage (DAS). Instead of relying on traditional storage networks, Server SAN pools storage resources directly from the DAS of multiple servers. This approach offers a unified storage environment that is software-led, allowing for enhanced scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. It essentially bridges the gap between individual server storage and networked storage solutions, providing a more efficient and streamlined storage architecture.

Primary data storage is used to store data that is highly important and/or frequently accessed and requires faster responses. Secondary storage is used to archive less important or inactive data that must be kept for operational or historical purposes.

Flash storage is essentially synonymous with solid-state disks and provides some of the fastest response times in the storage industry. Because flash also tends to be more costly, companies may use a hybrid storage solution that combines fast flash storage with more economical forms (but less responsive) forms of storage media, storing data on one media or the other based on its value and criticality.

Network-attached storage is a data storage device that can be accessed by users via a local area network. Network storage is typically a file storage system, where data is stored hierarchically using files and folders much like paper is organized in a filing cabinet. Object storage is a data storage system where data is stored as objects in a flat structure, with attached metadata that describes it, and a unique identifier that allows it to be found among a highly distributed array of storage devices.

Tiered storage is an approach to data storage that balances cost and performance by using high-performance media for data that is frequently accessed, and less expensive media for data that does not need to be accessed as frequently or as quickly.

SDS decouples storage software from hardware, using software to manage data storage on standard servers. This provides administrators with more flexibility and speed to support next-gen workloads.

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