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Dell PowerFlex 4.5.x Technical Overview

File system storage

A file system represents a set of storage resources that provide network file storage.

The storage system establishes a file system that Windows users or Linux/UNIX hosts can connect to and use for file-based storage. Users access a file system through its shares, which draw from the total storage that is allocated to the file system.

Table 1. File system storage components
Component Description
NAS server A file server configured with its network interfaces and other settings exclusively exporting the set of specified file systems through mount points called shares. Client systems connect to a NAS server on the storage system to get access to the file system shares. A NAS server can have more than one file system, but each file system can only be associated with one NAS server.
File system A manageable container for file-based storage that is associated with the following properties:
  • A specific quantity of storage.
  • A particular file access protocol (SMB, NFS, or multiprotocol).
  • One or more shares (through which network hosts or users can access shared files or folders).
Share or export A mountable access point to file system storage that network users and hosts can use for file-based storage.
Windows users or Linux/UNIX hosts A user, host, netgroup, or subnet that has access to the share and can mount or map the resource. For Windows file systems, access to the share is based on share permissions and ACLs that assign privileges to objects defined in Active Directory. For Linux/UNIX file systems, access is permitted based on NFS access settings.

Shares and exports

Shares represent mount points through which users or hosts can access file system resources. Each share is associated with a single file system and inherits the file system protocol (SMB or NFS) established for that file system. Shares of a multiprotocol file system can be either SMB or NFS.

Access to shares is determined depending on the type of file system:

  • Windows (SMB) shares: Access is controlled by SMB share permissions and the ACLs on the shared directories and files. For example, you can configure share permissions using the Microsoft Computer Management utility.
    • Active Directory SMB servers: Configure access for users and groups using Windows directory access controls. User/group authentication is performed through Active Directory.
    • Stand-alone SMB servers: Manage a stand-alone SMB server within a workgroup from a Microsoft Windows host.
  • Linux/UNIX (NFS) exports: Hosts access is defined by the NFS access control settings of the NFS export. Use PowerFlex to configure access for individual Linux/UNIX hosts or IP address subnets.

All shares within a single file system draw from the total quantity of storage allocated for the file system. Consequently, storage space for shares is managed at the file system level.

NAS servers

NAS servers provide access to file systems. Each NAS server supports Windows (SMB) file systems, Linux/UNIX (NFS) exports, or both. To provide isolated access to a file system, you can configure a NAS server to function as independent file server with server-specific DNS, NIS, and other settings. The IP address of the NAS server provides part of the mount point that users and hosts use to map to the file system storage resource, with the share name providing the rest. Each NAS server exposes its own set of file systems through the file system share, either SMB or NFS.

Once a NAS server is running, you can create and manage file systems and shares on that NAS server.

NOTE:You can create a file system only if there is a NAS server running on the storage system. The types of file systems that you can create are determined by the file sharing protocols (SMB, NFS, or multiprotocol) enabled for the NAS server.

NAS server physical requirements

PowerFlex file nodes can be configured as small, medium, or large, according to the following specifications.

Table 2. NAS server physical requirements
Configuration Cores RAM NICs Storage (PERC 755)
Small 2 * 12 (24) 128 GiB 4 * 25G BOSS 2 * 480 GiB M.2
Medium 2 * 16 (32) 256 GiB 4 * 25G BOSS 2 * 480 GiB M.2
Large 2 * 28 (56) 256 GiB 4 * 25G/

4 * 100G

BOSS 2 * 480 GiB M.2


  • 2 * Intel® Xeon® Gold 5317 2.8G, 12C, 150W
  • 2 * Intel® Xeon® Gold 6346 3.1G, 16C, 205W
  • 2 * Intel® Xeon® Gold 6348 2.6G, 28C, 235W


  • 128 GiB: 16 * 8 GiB RDIMM, 3200 MT/s, single rank
  • 256 GiB: 16 * 16 GiB RDIMM, 3200 MT/s, dual rank


The requirements are similar when customers use bring-your-own hardware.

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