How High-Density Storage Fits Into Your Converged Infrastructure

Dealing with enormous data growth is one of the ongoing challenges for IT organizations. Businesses are creating far more data than ever before, and they are also keeping data for longer periods of time. The so-called digital universe is now doubling in size every two years, and much of that growth is fueled by the explosion of unstructured data.

Managing data growth has led to a spate of relatively recent storage innovations, including intelligent tiering, deduplication, thin provisioning and advanced compression. It has also led to new approaches to managing storage, such as storage virtualization and converged infrastructures. And it has precipitated a shift from tape backup to predominantly disk-based backup.

One of the other areas of innovation is in the packaging of storage solutions. Leading vendors have developed techniques in which they use high-density enclosures to package more capacity into smaller footprints. While these solutions aren’t designed specifically for converged infrastructures, their benefits for these environments are clear: More capacity taking up less space, at a reduced total cost of ownership.



In utilizing dense storage solutions within converged infrastructures, you want to make sure that they deliver all of the important characteristics you expect out of your overall storage solutions, and that they support the same architecture. Look for features such as automated tiering, intelligent management, fault tolerance and virtualization. You should also seek solutions that have a modular architecture so you can purchase the storage you need when you need it, without overprovisioning.

There are certain applications and workloads where dense storage solutions can be particularly useful. These include:

  • Colocation facilities, where rack space is at a premium and you may be charged extra for taking up additional rack space.

  • Archival media, where capacity is critical and space is also likely to be at a premium.

  • File workflows, such as radiology, biotech and other life sciences.

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So, exactly how dense are dense storage solutions? Here are a few examples:

  • The Dell EqualLogic PS6500E iSCSI SAN Storage solution supports up to 144 terabytes (TB) of storage capacity in a dense 4U chassis. It can scale up to 2.3 petabytes (PB) under a single management interface.

  • The high-density Dell Compellent SC280 enclosure is up to 2.8 times denser than traditional 2U 3.5-inch disk drive enclosures, offering 336 TB of storage in a 5U chassis. Multiple SC280 units and two Storage Center systems can scale to provide a 2 PB SAN and NAS solution in a single 48U rack.

  • The PowerVault MD3660f can scale up to 180 drives in 12U, providing up to 720 TB of raw capacity, with high-performance tiering, SSD cache and thin provisioning to optimize performance and capacity.

If you have an application or a workload where a dense storage solution makes sense, don’t shy away from using it because you are going to a converged infrastructure. Talk to Dell about how and where to deploy it by visiting

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