Dell takes OneFS to the Next Level with PowerScale

GettyImages-1143268590This week, Dell Technologies announced the release of its new PowerScale storage platform for unstructured (file and object) data. Despite the new name, PowerScale leverages the same OneFS technology that was the backbone of the Isilon brand for so many years.

Why isn’t it just called Isilon? Multiple reasons, Dell looks to be consolidating the naming for its infrastructure portfolio all under “Power” brands, such as PowerMax, PowerStore, PowerOne, and now PowerScale. Also, there is a lot more in this launch than just a new appliance.

Here is a breakdown of some of the highlights in the PowerScale launch:

  • New PowerEdge hardware: This is something I have been waiting for ever since the Dell and EMC merger/acquisition. Dell has a rich and robust server hardware portfolio with PowerEdge. Combined with the Isilon’s OneFS software, PowerScale should enable Dell to deliver new hardware technologies to its customers faster and at a lower cost. While we will still need to see if that is the case, from an operational standpoint this is a smart move.
  • Embracing a software-defined architecture: Software-defined storage (SDS) was meant to offer hardware flexibility, but in reality, few organizations have the appetite or the resources anymore to manage separate hardware and software update streams while constantly ensuring that everything works together. By embracing a software-defined architecture, however, for OneFS, Dell is able to deliver most of the benefits of SDS, such as multiple hardware and deployment options and the ability to embrace new hardware generations without being forced to do a forklift upgrade. All of that, but Dell does the hardware and software integration work for you. With PowerScale, Dell delivers the benefits of SDS while greatly reducing the burden on their customers.
  • PowerScale fits seamlessly into existing Isilon environments: This is not really a feature, more of an acknowledgement that Dell wisely ensured that existing customers were able to expand to the new technology seamlessly. Forcing customers to rip and replace existing gear is a non-starter, and PowerScale works seamlessly with existing Isilon environments.
  • Multi-cloud file storage platform, seriously: Data movement is costly, risky, and complex. This is the physics problem that makes large-scale multi-cloud data environments difficult to manage. PowerScale offers multiple ways to leverage cloud resources. One of the more interesting options, though, is its ability to serve the same data pool to applications on multiple clouds simultaneously with its cloud storage for multi-cloud option.
  • Insights and more Insights: Massive unstructured storage environments have surpassed the limitations of what can be effectively managed with traditional tools. When line-of-business executives identify IT as a business inhibitor, the most common reason (43%) is that they can’t find the data they need.[1] The addition of DataIQ to PowerScale is really exciting. Its ability to gather and provide insights on data both on PowerScale, as well as other storage environments, offers the potential for some possibly truly transformational benefits. Also, PowerScale is supported by Dell’s CloudIQ technology, which collects telemetry data and offers proactive insights and support. Both areas of insights on data and on technology are crucial for organizations to keep pace with business demands. Excited to see Dell innovating here.
  • S3 support for new and existing data: For all the interest in S3 as a more modern app development, files still comprise the bulk of unstructured content, both existing and newly created. With OneFS 9.0, not only does PowerScale get the option to serve and store S3 data, but existing Isilon environments also can support S3. For organizations seeking to empower app developers, OneFS 9.0 can provide an easy way to make a wealth of content instantly available via S3 without needing to stand up and manage new infrastructure, helping accelerating development schedules.

The data revolution is upon us. Unstructured storage capacities have become so massive we can’t think of solutions like PowerScale as products anymore, they are platforms that must be upgradeable in place, platforms that must be able to intelligently understand their data and their infrastructure. If businesses want to maximize the potential of their data, they need a platform that is both massively scalable and flexible in terms of deployment, but one that can evolve over time, adding new capabilities and insights to existing data sets without needing to rip and replace everything. That is what EMC had with Isilon and now Dell Technologies is continuing with OneFS and PowerStore.


[1] ESG Master Survey Results, 2019 Technology Spending Intentions Survey, March 2019.

Topics: Storage