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Dell EqualLogic PS6000XV SAN storage appliance review

Dell’s new EqualLogic PS6000XV IP SAN appliance delivers great value, capacity and features – could it also be the fastest?

The Group Manager console is very intuitive and provides easy access to functions such as group, storage pool and volume creation. For the latter you choose a storage pool, decide on a volume size and add access restrictions, where you can limit host access by CHAP authentication, IP address or initiator name.

Thin provisioning can be configured during volume creation and you decide how much physical space to start with. The appliance uses three watermarks where the minimum size is 10 per cent of the virtual volume. When the volume is 95 per cent full the system starts throttling back I/O performance to enable administrators time to increase the volume size. Once you reach the critical watermark the volume is placed offline.

Snapshots are set up during volume creation where you decide how much space should be set aside for them and at any time you can promote snapshots as new volumes. A thin provisioned volume will have its snapshots and replicas thinly provisioned and you can also swap on the fly between classic and thin provisioned volumes as well.

For replication, snapshots of selected volumes are stored in other groups called replication partners. During setup you can choose one-way replication to another group, bi-directional replication between groups or designate one group as a central location to which multiple groups can be replicated. If a volume gets lost or damaged you just clone a copy of the replicated volume and promote it as a new volume.

Dell's new SAN HeadQuarters is designed to manage multiple appliances from a central console. You add your groups, which all appear in the left pane along with a choice selection of statistics and graphs for each one. You can view detailed reports on capacity, which show the total space for the group and how it's split up into volumes and snapshots.

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