At its User Forum this week, Dell announced Dell Storage SC4020 availability in the United States. The SC4020 is a small- to mid-size Compellent Storage Center array running the same Storage Center 6.5 software as the SC8000 enterprise arrays, but with a smaller form factor and more limited scalability. The SC4020 has been available in APJ markets since earlier in 2014.
Limited scalability is a relative thing. While the SC8000 can scale to 960 drives, the SC4020 will only scale to 120 2.5-in. drives of SLC SSD, MLC SSD, or many types of traditional spinning disk, totaling up to 408 TB of capacity via SC200 or SC220 expansion enclosures. Dell advertises that the SC4020 achieves 120,000 IOPS on a mixed workload benchmark with only twenty-four SLC SSDs installed, making it a very interesting “little” array. The biggest tradeoff may be in the controllers. There are up to two controllers in the SC4020, each with only a single quad-core E3-1265L Xeon CPU (versus the SC8000’s six-core Sandy Bridge CPUs), so it is reasonable to assume that the feature sets may diverge in the future if options like compression and deduplication become available.
As with all other Compellent-based arrays, the SC4020 has Dell’s intelligent data placement features, also known as autotiering, which automatically migrate cold data into slower, cheaper tiers of storage over time. Host connectivity is via Fibre Channel or iSCSI, leveraging the iSCSI host connectivity stack from EqualLogic. Replication can also be done via the iSCSI interfaces—between SC4020s or SC8000s, creating interesting possibilities for disaster recovery replication—and branch or remote offices. It has the same perpetual licensing as its larger siblings, the same license pricing caps at ninety-six drives, and the same management interfaces, meaning zero training for enterprises that already have Compellent arrays. Last, the SC4020 comes with the incredibly popular Copilot support. While helpful to larger operations, Copilot is a boon to smaller organizations that may want additional security and assistance in operating their on-premises array without a professional services engagement.