back to article Dell's blade data-centre-in-a-box 'much better than HP's'

Dell is now shipping an EqualLogic storage blade array, and claiming it is much better than HP's equivalent product. The idea is to converge blade form factor servers, storage and networking hardware inside a single rackmount enclosure or chassis that can be bought, installed and managed as a single system. This is easier to …


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  1. Pondule

    Typical meaningless comparison

    They've installed VMware on two HP blade servers just to put LeftHand VSA on, nobody would do that in the real world, they'd be running Exchange and SharePoint on those same VMware hosts. The Dell solution is indeed more streamlined, but the HP solution is not a real HP solution, it's a Principled Technology solution using HP kit.

    1. Nate Amsden

      Re: Typical meaningless comparison

      looks like it is a real HP solution -

      "The D2200sb Storage Blade delivers direct attached storage for c-Class servers, with support for up to twelve SFF SAS hard disk drives or SAS/SATA SSDs or SATA Midline hard drives. The enclosure backplane provides a PCI Express connection to the adjacent c-Class server blade and enables high performance storage access without any additional cables. The D2200sb features the onboard Smart Array P410i controller with 1 GB flash-backed write cache, for increased performance and data protection.

      Use the HP P4000 Virtual SAN Appliance Software (VSA) to turn the D2200sb into an iSCSI SAN for use by all severs in the enclosure and any server on the network. VSA includes remote replication capabilities, thin provisioning, and snapshot. Combine the D2200sb with the HP X1800sb Network Storage Blade to enable file serving iSCSI shared storage inside the BladeSystem enclosure."

      Though I think a better solution would be to use a pair of the c7k SAS switches and connect blades to external storage, the blade enclosure itself is of course fairly limited in size.

      1. Pondule

        Re: Typical meaningless comparison

        It's a real hardware product that comes with LeftHand P4000 VSA bundled in but it isn't recommended to dedicate the whole VMware host to a single VM running VSA; one would normally fill the host with RAM and run a load of other VMs on it as well, that's what Virtual SAN Appliances are all about.

  2. Kirbini

    Everything old is new again..

    So, they take some modular computing (blades), modular storage (hot swap drives in blade form), modular network, drop it all in a single box and make it all remote access only and this is somehow new? Can you say "mainframe"? Good, I knew you could.

    now get off my lawn...

  3. Gdubjr

    False Dillema

    Presenting VSA as a viable alternative to their EQL blade solution is weak at best. What about option #3, the P4800? Haven't they heard of it before? Of course they have! It's been around for years.

  4. Phil Dalbeck

    A step forward

    Getting a fully functional EQL into a blade chassis is a real boon for Dells Blade lineup. Dual controllers and having the full lineup of disk options (SAS, SSD, NL, Hybrid SSD+SAS) makes it very flexible.

    Regards the accuracy of the comparison, a P4500 Left hand pair would be the closest comparison in terms of performance positioning, but the lefthand stuff lags way behind the EQL lineup in terms of performance, density and simplicity, plus its rack mounted - and this Dell sponsored comparison is about blade integrated storage options.

    The HP storage blades do however offer you a way to put a dozen SSD's on the PCI bus of any adjacent blade for maximum IOPS and bus speed latency - something Dell can't do at this point in time - this is great if your running high IO SQL or similiar, and want ns (bus) rather than ms (iscsi) disk access latency to your SSD's

    Practically - I expect that the Equallogic blade will be a great fit for building out dense DC deployments in a physically resiliant manner - but HP have the edge when it comes to building high performance storage right into the chassis - its a shame the VSA solution is so horrid. I'm hoping for a baby 3PAR blade for the c7000 at some point down the line.

    PS - One VERY important point not highlighted above - the Equallogic can be slid out of the rack while live to hot swap dud RAID disks or controllers as it has a cantilever arm and ribbon cable attaching it to the backplane - the HP blade storage VSA appliance needs to be taken offline to get at the disks in the event of a failure - meaning downtime for your storage just to replace a spinner... worth noting if uptime is important to you.

    1. Phil Dalbeck

      Re: A step forward

      Hmmm... Correcting myself before anyone else does - it may be possible to pull out the HP storage blade without loosing connectivity - I'm seeing conflicting info... need to look into it more...

      1. Pondule

        Re: A step forward

        Inner tray slides out for hot-swap.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You're giving Dell too much credit

    I keep seeing Dell Equalogic is way ahead on performance, but where's the evidence ? If you want high availability then the Equalogic constrains you to a single enclosure as striping across enclosures would be bad from a HA perspective, so in reality each Equalogic box ends up as a SAN island,. Where I've seen them deployed they seem to breed like rabbits for precisely this reason. Whereas the HP Lefthand kit allows you to safely scale out across many more nodes in a cluster (albeit sacrificing capacity for availability as every data protection scheme does). Since the HP solution can safely scale out to many nodes, the cluster has much more CPU, bandwidth and spindles at its disposal and should outperform Dell in the real world. If you're just saying model A goes faster (disk for disk) than model B then you're not looking at the whole picture. I hear the HP solution is also much more capacity efficient on snapshots and replication, something in my experience Dell don't like to discuss.

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