The data storage landscape is evolving to account for increasingly distributed workforces and heightened demand for real-time computing capabilities. With its PowerStore family of all-flash storage systems, Dell EMC has introduced features that effectively satisfy these demands.
Speed is of the essence in today’s storage environments. The ability to retrieve, process and deliver data with sub-millisecond delays is crucial for financial reporting, analytics, industrial telematics, supply chain management, customer service, enterprise resource planning and myriad other essential business applications.
Edge computing has emerged to hasten data delivery to the distributed workforce. This distributed computing model pushes data processing closer to users in order to minimize latency, preserve bandwidth and allow devices to work with near-real-time data. Gartner predicts that by 2025, three-quarters of all enterprise-generated data will be created and processed at the edge.
Reducing the Edge Footprint
However, the edge model requires a unique approach to storage. To relocate data processing closer to users, organizations typically deploy small-scale micro data centers that include all the infrastructure required for a given workload. These may range in size from a single 19-inch rack to a 40-foot shipping container. Conventional storage arrays can hog a lot of that real estate.
Cloud storage can minimize the storage footprint at the edge, but there is a significant performance penalty. Transferring data collected by edge devices back and forth between cloud data centers for processing and analysis is not particularly efficient, and it often can result in intolerable delays for time-sensitive applications.
PowerStore arrays conserve edge real estate through a uniquely flexible design. An NVMe container-based architecture with an onboard VMware ESXi hypervisor allows a PowerStore array to be deployed as either a traditional external storage array that attaches to servers (the PowerStore T model) or as a hypervisor-enabled appliance with the operating system running as a virtual machine (the PowerStore X model).
The PowerStore X model is particularly useful for edge deployments due to a feature called AppsON, which allows you to run applications directly on the array. This reduces power, cooling, infrastructure and space requirements at the edge by eliminating the need to install dedicated host servers for each application.
The unique architecture is ideal for data-intensive workloads at edge locations that require compact, simple infrastructure. For example, administrators can use the AppsON feature to run edge management and analytics applications directly on the appliance, using the same VMware tools and methods they use with external hosts.
This flexibility is possible because of PowerStore’s dual-node architecture and native integration with VMware’s vSphere virtualization platform. With AppsON, PowerStore can provide storage capacity for applications running throughout the enterprise while simultaneously running a VMware-based environment for hosting applications locally. When PowerStore is deployed as an X model, half of its CPU and memory are reserved for serving storage while the remaining half is available for running VMs.
A recent update to the PowerStoreOS includes enhanced AppsON clustering features. With the update, AppsON now has the ability to cluster up to four PowerStore X appliances to create more aggregate capacity and make it easier for users to move VMs and applications to meet performance requirements. For example, the new clustering capabilities will allow users to run more storage-intensive analytics applications at the edge.
The unique flexibility of PowerStore arrays can help organizations gain a competitive advantage by resolving many of today’s top storage challenges. To learn more about upgrading your storage environment to achieve greater performance and operational simplicity, give us a call. As a Dell EMC Gold Partner, we have the tools and technical proficiency to help you explore and implement leading-edge solutions such as PowerStore.