When Terrified Vendors Attack: The Dell PowerStore Edition

Dell is at it again. This time, they paid Principled Technologies to do some tests in order to produce a ridiculous report trying to compare the high-end HPE Primera to the midrange Dell EMC PowerStore.

I’ll expose some of the more egregious errors in their methodology and overall thinking, but first I want to direct readers to an easy way to impartially compare for themselves, without having to read a FUD document sponsored by anyone at all.

Executive Summary: A Primera 670 is multiple times faster than a PowerStore 9000T, has stronger data protection, and much higher uptime.

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The Harsh Realities of PCIe Lane Shortage in Storage Systems

There are a lot of myths and misinformation, plus more than a modicum of misunderstanding, regarding how storage systems can use available bandwidth, especially with certain newer kinds of media.

I wanted to explain some of the harsh facts of storage system design in the real world, and why one shouldn’t just add up drive speeds to estimate performance.

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HPE Memory-Driven Architectures Extend to 3PAR and Nimble Storage

HPE has been innovating in the Memory-Driven Compute space for a while now (for example, HPE Labs’ The Machine project and Gen-Z ).

The driver behind this has been to transform application performance, not by increments but by leaps and bounds. Think orders of magnitude in reduction of execution time. For instance, at an organization performing Alzheimer’s cure research, they had a certain key analytics operation that took 22 minutes for each iteration (and they need to do many, many iterations). With a Memory-Driven system from HPE it now takes 13 seconds. This allows the researchers to reach useful results much faster – which, in turn, means the cure could materialize in a much shorter timeframe.

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Media is Not Created Equal and NVMe is Just a Protocol

In this era of over-marketing and misinformation, it can be refreshing to clarify things for customers.

Allow me to be refreshing regarding NVMe 🙂

NVMe is simply a protocol. Just like SCSI is a protocol. NVMe is most assuredly not a media type. Yet, storage vendors keep talking about “NVMe drives” and customers often think those devices are equal as long as “NVMe” is mentioned.

Alas, that’s not how things work…

Strictly speaking, there’s no such thing as an NVMe drive. Or, at the very least, calling something an “NVMe drive” isn’t enough to describe what that media is, and it’s especially not enough to describe how fast it may be.

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