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back to article Dell kills 3-year-old object storage appliance line

Dell is closing down its DX6000 object storage appliance product line just three years after starting it up. Its OEM'd Caringo software will be available through Dell’s Digital Download Store. But there are concerns that this move will tarnish Dell's reputation as an enterprise raised-floor data centre supplier. Object storage …

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More they change ....

I love object based storage. databases have been using it for years. don't forget some of the enterprise wrappers, documentum, filenet etc. they all used an object identifier to speed reference and search.

moving to a software only model is not that much of a stretch. It is still all about else caution though... perhaps the mark hurd could help dell realize thier potential once all this buyout talk ends soon.

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Support?

If I owned or was about to buy a DX, I would be really worried about support in the future. Dell rebranded the Caringo software on their DX line and locked in their DX6004s and DX6012s with hardware licenses as the only storage nodes that would boot up on the platform. What happens 2 to 3 years from now when DX branded storage nodes are no longer available? At minimum, you are going to need a license to boot the non-DX branded storage node. At worst, you are going to have to upgrade the software to support the new hardware. Whose software is that going to be Dell's or Caringo's? Who is going to handle the support Dell or Caringo if you have to upgrade to Caringo's software?

I had to laugh at the Dell technology innovator comment. Name one thing that Dell has created that wasn't rebranded, bought out, or the software created by someone else? Nothing wrong with taking other people's products and improving them but that doesn't make you an innovator.

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Re: Support?

Dear TechGuy2016 - Great questions and concerns. Thank you.

Caringo and Dell are working together closely to manage every aspect of the "transition" from the appliance model to the more flexible software + hardware fulfillment model. Investment protection, customer experience and continued growth are key parameters that will guide every step of this transition.

One of the beneficial outcomes will be that legacy appliances will be capable of absorbing storage nodes other than those originally configured as part of the appliance. Since our software is meant to aggregate internal storage capacity across any x86 server, the customer choice will be broad. Note that the DX6004S's and DX6012S's storage nodes were just re-branded PowerEdge R410's and R510's or R710's respectively. In fact, one of our more popular "Dell" configurations used the PowerEdge-C C8000 server, which is an example of the "new" fulfillment model that was already in practice at Dell. This is ultimately not a new approach, only an evolution based on the best of what our partnership has to offer.

Regarding the software, the core appliance software is the same as what Caringo ships to our direct customers, with the exception of Dell's branding. The Caringo software is designed for investment protection over long periods of time. For instance, transparent, data in-place hardware evolution is a design tenet and "old" and "new" hardware can live harmoniously together in the same cluster. Purchased licenses are perpetual so any legacy licenses will always "carry forward" post transition and new licenses are compatible with the old.

Regarding support and services, legacy support and service contracts, some of which extend for 5 or more years, are uneffected. Caringo and Dell have, and will continue to have, a cooperative support agreement in place and we will work closely together to make sure that customers get the best mix of hardware and software support regardless if related to a legacy DX appliance, a software-only implementation OR a combination of both.

Though there are transformation details to hash out, our intent is to provide even broader object storage solutions to Dell's customers with greater flexibility and enhanced support, both pre and post sale. Don't hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

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is this really changing anything?

Was there anything unique about the appliances or were they just PowerEdge boxes with the software pre-installed? I suspect the latter, in which case this is basically a non issue. I bet Dell replaces it with a package offering that basically allows the customer to order 1 SKU to get both hardware and software and the customer installs the software separately.

HP does have an object storage product on the market in their HP StoreAll (NAS) platform - while it is primarily a NFS system it has object storage abilities as well (complete with APIs and stuff). I have never used it, but it's there. They don't have a dedicated object-only platform(e.g. it still relies on RAID as far as I know), not sure if they need one depending on how well the StoreAll stuff works.

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Must be more to object storage?

Forgive me if this is a dumb question, but using a UUID for a block of data rather than a directory tree entry seems pretty trivial, in fact you could probably write a small layer to allow one to appear on top of or underneath the other.

So what else has "object storage" got that you simply don't get with a file-based system?

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Re: Must be more to object storage?

If i remember correctly from my time working on Centerra; most of these solutions also do some pretty cool tricks with meta-data which means you have much more granular information about archiving and the like - the kind of information you *should* have on Block but cant easily map / export and also the kind of stuff you do have access to in NAS but cant really manage properly.

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Dell...still dazed and confused

The Dell partnership with Caringo was a good move back in the day. The problem with the DX storage server line was you could not put enough disk drives in them if you were actually building out an object storage cluster. Right not you can put 72, 3TB 3.5-inch SATA disk drives in a 4u SGI MIS. That's 216TB per server and 2PB per 40u cabinet with room for a top of the rack 10GbE switch. SGI currently has a partnership with Scality, which is probably somewhat similar to what Caringo had with Dell. BackBlaze has opened up their design for a 4u storage server that holds 45, 4TB 3.5-inch disk drives and Supermicro has a 4u storage server that will hold 36, 3TB 3.5-inch disk drives. So you can take your pick of 4u storage servers that will hold 216TB or 180TB of 108TB each. If Dell want to be a player in this market offering "industry standard x86 hardware, then this is the ballpark for object storage servers today. When HAMR disk drives arrive starting in another year or so, it will be a whole new ballgame as capacities with start at 6TB per 3.5-inch drive and probably peak out at 20TB to 30TB per drive over the next 10 years.

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