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Adam_a

Dell Storage SC4020 Review

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The Dell Storage SC4000 lineup was created in order to make Dell Storage technologies available to mid-tier enterprise customers. This kind of functionality was formerly only available from Dell at scales and price points accessible to larger deployments. The SC4020 embodies a new approach for Dell which de-emphasizes distinct Compellent and EqualLogic lines in favor of solutions that draw from both families. SC4000 arrays incorporate Compellent’s data progression and placement, SLC and MLC optimization, and Compellent's data services. The most conspicuous appropriation from EqualLogic is the SC4000 iSCSI software stack.

Dell Storage SC4020 Review

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From your review, it seems like the only con could be addressed by adding additional drives or an SC200/220. I would love to see the numbers you are able to get with that arrangement.

I have one of the SC4020 with a SC200 with SSD tiering. Our build has a mix of 2.5" write priority SSD and read priority SSD in the SC4020 with 4TB 3.5" hard drives in the SC200. After spending a lot of time looking at the market, I couldn't find anything in this claimed performance class for under $250K, and even with the one viable option, there were really restrictive software licensing issues (read: per year subscriptions) which were just not an issue with the Compellent.

For small and medium businesses looking for virtualization storage, an example: I was able to put together a SSD tiered ~40TB arrangement with redundant controllers, an SC200 expansion chassis, redundant 10GB switching (Dell N3024F) and SFP+ direct attach copper cabling for under $100K all in. There just is nothing else that I could find that competes at that price.

Another note, Dell professional services are usually thrown in if you put a Dell package together. I had them in my data center at 8:30AM, they were training my team by noon, and we were fully operational at the end of the day. For small IT groups like mine, this whole engagement was a dream. I have been using it production for about 3 months now with no issues at all.

With my personal SAN experience filled with over-hyped abilities and underperforming systems, I have been very pleasantly surprised to actually get what I paid for.

Edited by ethanf

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Thats fantastic to hear from a first person perspective. We are working with Dell now on getting the write-intensive drives to chunk in and retest the unit across the board. In this price category most people are looking at entry 10K SANs or low-end Hybrid... not an all flash array.

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Yeah, for our environment all flash was just not feasible. We needed speed for sure, but we also need more than just a few TBs of storage.

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Thankfully the flash vendors are going to be there to help on that capacity issue, we're seeing every roadmap including 4TB drives in the very near future.

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I appreciated this review since it explains the exact reason why we decided to purchase a SC4020, great for the money. We just recently got ours and I wanted to compare the performance that we're seeing to the test results you listed in your review.

SR - Could you please let me know the parameters that were used in your Fio tests?

Thanks!

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It's a Windows Server 2008 R2 vm. I did read through that link before I posted and made at least some of the changes that were required for Windows however, it looks like there is a --size that is required that I didn't see posted anywhere and the --refill_buffers and --norandommap looked to be causing issues as well. Any help would be great!

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To copy our tests, create 4 25GB LUNs and attach them to your server (don't format them). Bring them online, then make note of what the physical drive numbers are for those devices. Those will go into the script where it says physicaldriveX.

There are some subtle differences between the linux and windows parameters, so if you were using our samples in Windows it would cause some trouble... since those are the Linux variants.

fio.exe --filename=\\.\PhysicalDrive1:\\.\PhysicalDrive2:\\.\PhysicalDrive3:\\.\PhysicalDrive4 --thread --direct=1 --rw=randrw --refill_buffers --norandommap --randrepeat=0 --ioengine=windowsaio --bs=4k --rwmixread=100 --iodepth=16 --numjobs=16 --time_based --runtime=60 --group_reporting --name=4ktest --output=4ktest.out

This will do a 4k 100% read test for 60 seconds with a load of 16 threads and 16 queue. Let me know if that works.

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Hi Kevin,

We bought one of these as well. it would be awesome to get test results of this unit with the two flash types - as you indicated above.

We got 12 X RI, 32 X WI SSDs and 24 X 7K disks. We are getting sub millisecond latency on the disks.

We might be getting a second array for DR with the new 4TB flash disks.

Please note that your tests did not explicitly say that you were testing with iSCSI - but the photo of the unit has iSCSI. It would be good to have this clarification in the article.

Appreciate your work!

R.

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I don't see any reviews for the HP MSA 2040. I am getting a quote from Dell on the SC2040 auto tiering with 16 1.2TB 10K HDs and 6 480GB RI SSDs. And also getting a similar quote from HP on the MSA 2040. I don't see any reviews on this site for the MSA 2040. I am wondering if anyone can compare these?

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