Company founder and CEO Michael Dell was in San Francisco today, conducting a global Webcast "town hall meeting" focused on how his company is removing cost and complexity from storage solutions for the "under-served" market of small- and medium-sized businesses.
He warned that SMBs, with a large IT budget or in-house expertise, will start losing their data if something isn't done to bring down the cost and complexity of storage. Last year an estimated 161 exabytes were managed on storage devices, he said, which equates to 12 stacks of books between here and the moon. "This year the amount of digital data will surpass the digital storage capacity available. If we don't do something, we are going to lose that data."
After his "the sky is falling" warning, he stated that Dell was the fastest growing tier one storage vendor in the second quarter, and drove down the cost-per-gigabyte 36 percent faster than last year.
Then, as a proof statement, Dell introduced the PowerVault MD3000i, an iSCSI storage area network device aimed at smaller businesses. "This is a product that is easy to expand and much more affordable than competitive offerings. Even richly configured it cost costs 40 percent less the competition," Dell said, and teased about more announcements to come.
Darren Thomas, general manager and vice president of storage at Dell, talked about the benefits of iSCSI/gigabit Ethernet solutions. "It can be a $1,400 less per port than FibreChannel," he said, and can be managed by a non-IT professional. "iSCSI allows us to offer consolidation [virtualization] at SMB pricing," he added. "The PowerVault MD3000i is just another way to change the economics of IT, he said. An MD3000i supporting up to 16 hosts, snapshot and volume-copy software is available now for under $10,000, which Dell said is 40 percent less than a comparably configured system from other vendors.
Thomas dissed some competitors, without naming them, regarding products that are too complex or overpriced and not designed with SMBs in mind, and challenged them to follow Dell's path.
The software for the MD3000i wasn't designed to work with non-Dell servers, but it's based on iSCSI standards and should work on other servers, Thomas said. Dell also has an EMC line of storage, which is aimed at more complex environments.
I would expect competitors to have a swift response, or counter claims, to Dell's claims.
Infoworld has a review of the PowerVault MD3000i.