Dell EMC SC5020: How to get even more out of this flexible, affordable storage array

Dell EMC SC5020: How to get even more out of this flexible, affordable storage array

Written by Marty Glaser

The Dell EMC SC5020 array is a next-generation storage array that expands on the capabilities of our most popular SC Series model ever, the SC4020. Now we’re expanding on the number of technical resources to help you get the most out of SC5020 solutions. But first, here's an overview on this new member of the SC Series family.

As detailed in a recent SC5020 blog post by Craig Bernero, the SC5020 boasts impressive increases with up to 45% more IOPS*, 4x more memory, 2x greater capacity* (2 PB) and up to 3x bandwidth* (12Gb SAS). And with a 3U chassis instead of 2U, it offers much denser storage capacity with up to 30 drives in the controller itself. The SC5020 is also optimized for efficiency and economics, offering the lowest price entry point per gigabyte of any storage array in the industry, even when configured as an all-flash array.**

Efficiency and Economics
Figure 1: Efficiency and Economics

The SC5020 offers flexibility with its expansion options as well as flash configurations. You can easily expand with additional enclosures through 12Gb SAS. And with support for 0% to 100% flash configurations, you can start with spinning disks and add flash later — without any downtime or reconfiguration required. Or start with all flash and add a tier 3 of spinning drives (7.2K, 10K or 15K rpm) for cheap-and-deep storage needs. Simply customize the array at purchase and add flash or spinning media as your storage needs evolve.
Performance Ratio
Figure 2: Performance Ratio

Adding to its robust iSCSI and Fibre Channel transport options, the SC5020 also offers direct-attached SAS for up to 4 hosts — a straightforward and cost-effective way of placing enterprise-featured SC Series storage at a branch office without the cost and complexity of iSCSI/FC switches, networks and fabrics. The SC5020 can participate in Live Volume automatic failover configurations as the primary location, secondary location or managed DR location. In addition to Live Volume, the SC5020 supports the full range of SC Series options from federation to data reduction (compression and deduplication) in 0% to 100% flash configurations.
Figure 3: SC5020

Get the most out of the SC5020 with new technical documents

To help you take full advantage of SC5020 solutions, we have released several new papers such as best practices guides and reference architectures. I’d like to call attention to a few titles that relate specifically to the capabilities of the SC5020.

Microsoft Exchange Solution Reviewed Program (ESRP)

These two papers detail SC5020 storage solutions for Microsoft Exchange Server, based on the Microsoft Exchange Solution Reviewed Program (ESRP) Storage program. They describe the performance characteristics of fully hardware-redundant Exchange 2016 solutions housing 9,000 or 15,000 user mailboxes in two 3U SC5020 arrays containing 7.2K or 10K drives.

Dell EMC SC Series SC5020 9,000 Mailbox Exchange 2016 Resiliency Storage Solution using 7.2K Drives

Dell EMC SC Series SC5020 15,000 Mailbox Exchange 2016 Resiliency Storage Solution using 10K Drives

Data Warehouse Fast Track (DWFT) with Microsoft SQL Server

These companion documents describe the design principles and guidelines used to achieve an optimally balanced 60TB Data Warehouse Fast Track reference architecture for SQL Server 2016 using Dell EMC PowerEdge R730 servers and SC5020 arrays. The first paper is a reference architecture that shows the configuration along with performance results, and the second paper is a deployment guide with step-by-step instructions for building the configuration.

60TB Data Warehouse Fast Track Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2016 using Dell EMC PowerEdge R730 and SC5020

Deploying the 60TB Data Warehouse Fast Track Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2016 using Dell EMC PowerEdge R730 and SC5020

Oracle OLAP processing

Highlighting the SC5020 array, this paper discusses the advanced features of Dell EMC SC Series storage and provides guidance on how they can be leveraged to deliver a cost-effective solution for Oracle OLAP and DSS deployments.

Optimizing Dell EMC SC Series Storage for Oracle OLAP Processing

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) with VMware View

This paper is a storage template for a VDI environment based on the SC5020 array, simulating a small- to mid-sized company with 3,500 end-user VMs running Microsoft Windows 7 and a workload typical of knowledge workers.

3,500 Persistent VMware View VDI Users on Dell EMC SC5020 Storage

Heterogeneous virtualized workloads with Hyper-V

This paper provides best practices for configuring Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V and Dell EMC SC5020 storage with heterogeneous application workloads.

Dell EMC SC5020 with Heterogeneous Virtualized Workloads on Microsoft Windows Server 2016 with Hyper-V Storage

SAS front-end support for Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware

The two papers describe how to configure VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V hosts equipped with supported SAS HBAs to access SAN storage on select SC Series arrays with SAS front-end ports. This includes the SC5020, which is showcased in these two documents.

Dell EMC SC Series with SAS Front-end Support for VMware vSphere

Dell EMC SC Series with SAS Front-end Support for Microsoft Hyper-V

SC5020 SAS

Figure 4:
SC5020 SAS

More resources

The Midrange Storage Technical Solutions team at Dell EMC provides focused and informative documents and videos, such as best practices and reference architectures for specific applications, operating systems and configurations. We continually refresh this content as new SC Series models and features are added, so make sure to bookmark our SC Series Technical Documents page on Dell TechCenter. More product information about SC Series arrays can be found at

We always appreciate feedback on how we can improve our knowledge-base resources. Please send feedback or recommendations to Thank you!

*Based on April 2017 internal Dell EMC testing, compared to previous-generation SC4020. Actual performance will vary depending upon application and configuration.

**Dell internal analysis, April 2017. Estimated street price, net effective capacity after 5:1 data reduction including 5 years of 7x24x4-hour on-site support. Comparison vs. other midrange storage from major-vendors. Customer’s price may vary based on a variety of circumstances and data should be used for comparison purposes.

Article ID: SLN312110

Last Date Modified: 08/10/2018 01:20 PM

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