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Dell PowerVault NX3000 review

Dell’s latest PowerVault NX3000 brings together a nifty combo of PowerEdge server and Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2008. It looks good value and in this review we see what else it delivers.

If, as we did, you leave the disk in the drive, the server will boot from it and automatically install a fresh copy of WSS2008. It'll wipe the system partition in the process but will leave other partitions untouched.

For general management you can either use a local monitor, mouse and keyboard or access the appliance remotely over RDP. All storage related operations are accessed directly from the Server Manager interface which offers a provisioning wizard for setting up network shares, assigning NTFS permissions, sharing over SMB and NFS and defining access restrictions.

You also get all the file screening, quotas and storage report features as standard. These allow you to block files from being copied to the appliance, limit the amount of space users can consume and pull up detailed reports on storage usage.

The Single Instance Storage (SIS) feature delivers data deduplication. Note that Microsoft's implementation operates only at the file level and not the block level and doesn't support system and boot volumes, remote drives or files referenced though junction points.

It employs a Groveler service to scan NTFS volumes designated for SIS operations looking for duplicate files. These are moved to a hidden Common File Store and replaced with links. This latest version adds support for clusters, twenty SIS volumes per server as opposed to six and the ability to remove SIS from a volume.

You can activate SIS from the command line or start it from the Volume advanced properties in the Share and Storage Management console. Once you've picked your volumes, the Groveler services runs in the background requiring no further intervention.

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