Gartner has rated mid-range arrays in a report - Critical Capabilities for General-Purpose, Midrange Storage Arrays - which includes the expected mainstream vendors as well as three startups. This marks the first time a reputable independent analyst agency has compared and contrasted mainstream vendor, niche supplier and startup …
Wonder if that means Dell really doesn't want to put that platform forward anymore.. though their storage website has a big award picture claiming EQL was #1 in iSCSI for 2013.
I wonder what the point was for all that effort if Gartner comes out and basically says buy whatever you want it doesn't matter, seems like wasted effort. They say agility and cost are important but they don't seem to measure either (maybe "manageability" could include agility but they weight it very low for something they seem to think is important). Maybe they used some random number generators to make the results and created the report in a couple of hours for some easy money.
To me there is certainly a significant rift between a number of the different systems on the list.
Re: no EQL?
Agreed, I thought it strange that EQL wasn't listed. Perhaps the rumors are true and Dell is basically sidelining EQL for Compellant.
I'd like to know more about the "use case" and what models and capacities they picked from different manufacturers. Since we're in the market for a new SAN maybe I'll bug our vendor for a copy of this Gartner report. "Agility" can mean many things so it's odd they don't specify nor was it one of the evaluation factors.
Re: no EQL?
@Nate: No, Dell really doesn't want to sell EQL any more except to the installed base reluctant to migrate (they want new customers on Compellent). They are pricing the new SC4020 array to blow the EQL stuff out of the water. There is a roadmap for existing customers though which is nice, but it ends with replicating your EQLs to a shiny new Compellent. There is a fairly new gen of EQL so I wouldn't expect to see it die off for another several years but I don't think Dell would put it up in sales scenarios where they are better positioned to win with Compellent.
I also agree with your comment around how effectively useless this report is. And it really is useless, since the weighting of the categories will vary from one company to another. I resell some of those systems and for a large number of my customers, the winning product ends up being something other than what Gartner thinks is best based on their critetia.
Re: no EQL?
Is Equalogic really midrange ? I've always though of it as more of a SMB/SME device forming a loose coupled cluster along with HP's StoreVirtual/Lefthand storage.
Compellent seems more of traditional midrange play featuring a dual controller, close coupled architecture, supporting multi-protocol access.
Re: no EQL?
I work for Dell selling storage (hence AC) and nothing could be further from the truth.
Dell has just launched the PS6200 series which features solid state, spinning and hybrid arrays and we're selling them by the boat load.
The product continues to rock and customers love it.
Compellent seems more compelling
That's why they've just very quietly launched the Compellent SC4000, that sits squarely in that Equalogic entry point. Does make you wonder about positioning.
Re: no EQL?
It really depends upon how you classify midrange.
Equallogic can scale to 3 petabytes (raw) and into the several hundreds of thousands of IOPS, depending upon how you build out your SAN group.
In the real world, you wouldn't built a 3PB array group of this nature, but it's perfectly acceptable to look at an Equallogic SAN scaling to the petabye (usable) range and to >100,000 IOPS, which covers a large swath of midrange customer needs.
A single Equallogic array can offer up 192TB raw or tens of thousands of IOPS, so this isn't like stringing a load of 2-seater cars together to form a bus, either.
It also has the feature set - Vmware and microsoft integration, comprehensive GUI, proactive failover, redundant design, online data migration, snaps, replication.
In conclusion, I'd qualify Equallogic as midrange.
A PB usable and >100K IOps on Equalogic, it can't even manage decent snapshots or replication. WTF have you been smoking ?
The analysis must be robust, proper and resilient and judging by the charts and graphs it must be so koz they look ever so pretty?
I've worked with / sold / competed against a fair few of the arrays on that list, and there are some massive differences between them, not just a few points here and there that the report would make you think.
For example, replication capability. Some vendors have CLI only, no failback, snapshot based with massive performance impact etc.
If this was a car chart, it would basically be saying a BMW 3 series isn't much difference to a Ford Focus.
Re: Rubbish report
Yes and others have fully symmetric active-active multi controller capabilities vs the rest who only have dual controllers and in most cases active / passive or pseudo active / active, which can make a huge difference to performance scalability and availability....I'll stop at that point.
But this is a high level buyers guide nothing more, if you wanted to get down into the weeds you could go on forever with a report at 1000 pages which is immediately out of date the day it's published, so time to market can be of value. It's nowhere near perfect and I dislike these reports as they allow potential buyers to dumb down their selection criteria, triggering a race to the bottom. Which in many cases just leads to the buyer ending up one of the losers, albeit unsuspecting at that point.
I suppose it does give a very high level indication of each players capabilities but what it really fails to do miserably is provide any real differentiation. E.g. Your analogy of the BMW vs Ford argument and that they're all much of a much-ness. When in reality many have major differences that can and do impact real world capabilities once outside the marketing dept / spec sheet.
Re: Rubbish report
Imagine Gartner being able to charge $1,995.00 USD for this though, I suppose one of the top two will buy it and make it freely available as HDS did with the high end report.
REPORT IS USELESS
Even Storage Magazine agrees.
And I agree with Storage Magazine.
Despite Gartners record I don't agree with storage magazine.
"2.Do these analysts look at the underlying architecture of the storage including things like Memory bandwidth of cache? Design of the front and back end connectivity to cache (think PCIe buses and channels)?"
What has the above got to do with anything, you can have the fastest hardware on the block, but if your software can't take advantage then the speeds and feeds are meaningless, just ask EMC's VNX 1 customers.
Platform architecture plays a part but few in the midrange differ enough to make it matter. Just because you've added more of Intel's latest and greatest doesn't mean you're suddenly faster, that's where storage really does differ from servers, common hardware but no common storage OS to provide a baseline. In reality It's all about front end (application) performance, flexibility and support not pissing competitions over CPU cores and cache bandwidth.
If you do get chance to read the report, it's not that bad, lacks geeky product detail like the above but does do the Vendor / platform positioning quite well. Much better than the high end version that seemed to have platforms in there simply to make up the numbers.
Although it's actually nice to see EMC and Netapp no longer getting a free pass on this kind of thing.
Re: No EQL
Regarding EqualLogic, I work for Dell, and, if we could have submitted both Compellent and EqualLogic for Gartner’s report, we would have. Gartner allowed vendors to submit only one product, and based on their report intentions and our assessment of what other vendors would submit, Dell made a decision to submit Dell Compellent as the array that would best fit their report.
As someone already posted, Dell announced just this December latest generation, flagship EqualLogic offering, the PS6210 Series. These new arrays offer up to a 3x performance improvement compared to the previous models. The Dell Storage SC4000 Series, announced recently in APJ, is a direct response to a low and mid-tier array market that is 78% fibre channel-based throughout that region. Dell could not address it with the iSCSI EqualLogic offering and the SC8000 was not designed to best suit smaller deployments. It’s a great addition to Dell’s portfolio that complements EqualLogic, offering customers another option to move to or stay with Dell.
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