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Dell Buys IPO-Bound EqualLogic for $1.4 Billion 54

alphadogg writes "Dell is stretching further behind PCs and servers and boosting its storage business with a $1.4 billion buyout of EqualLogic, a storage company that filed to go public in August. CEO Michael Dell had hinted just last week that Dell could be on the prowl for some big game."
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Dell Buys IPO-Bound EqualLogic for $1.4 Billion

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  • Fellow analyst Greg Schulz of Storage I/O also found the price eye-opening, but said: "If you go by the recent valuation of storage IPOs lately, it is more in line."

    Translation: They're all overpriced and the market is a bit overheated.

    I also wonder, who's using these storage companies? Is it for backups of corporate data centers?

    • I also wonder, who's using these storage companies? Is it for backups of corporate data centers?

      my guess would be disk for blade servers and virtual machines. Also, i think files, on average, are getting larger.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ChrisA90278 ( 905188 )
      "Is it for backups of corporate data centers?"

      You see it used everywhare. What do you keep user data? A round here every PC has a network drive on it's desktop and that is where peole keep all their files. So when I log into another PC in the plant I get my files on the desktop. That "drive" is really a big disk array. How do they back it up? The company owns three geographically dispersed arrays and they keep them synchronized using high speed data lines. They also use tape.

      Basically you would use a
  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @04:43PM (#21245931) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if this has any implications for Dell's partnership with EMC. Will Dell not be pushing EMC's low-end iSCSI storage now that they have their own? Or do the offerings from this new acquisition not compete at the same level as the EMC products?

    Disclaimer: I work at EMC, but have no inside knowledge concerning Dell or this acquisition.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think almost nobody takes EMC**2's low-end iSCSI storage very seriously. I think most people using EMC**2 hardware are doing so because EMC**2 has a reputation as a high-end player. Their low-end iSCSI implementation is a LOT more expensive than other offerings from smaller, more nimble companies like EqualLogic. If I'm shooting for the low-end hardware, I might as well get the best price I can, no?

      • I think almost nobody takes EMC**2's low-end iSCSI storage very seriously.

        I'm curious if you have any basis for this, because I'm actually looking at EMC's Clarion based iSCSI solutions. Certainly its not the cheapest solution out there, but what I want is reliability, esp given my new companies last foray into SAN was Dell's disastrous in-house product, and they are a bit gun shy, and at the end of the day the companies business depends on this thing being up 24x7x365.

        Thats the risk of SAN, Fast &

        • by myxiplx ( 906307 )
          Whitebox desktops? Naaah. What you really want are a few Sun x4500's (http://www.sun.com/servers/x64/x4500/). Buy some 1TB or even 2TB drives a few years down the line and that's some serious storage!
        • I'm curious if you have any basis for this
          Yes. I tried it. Their high-end products are nice. Their low-end products, inherited from some company they bought out, are crap. Their low-end stuff doesn't have true multipathing and it's a royal PITA to setup and configure. The stuff will go down if you sneeze on it. Sorry, but for my money, I'll take EqualLogic any day over low-end EMC.
          • Their low-end products, inherited from some company they bought out, are crap.

            Thanks, but please define your terms. High end is definately the Multi-million $$$ Symmetra, which we avoided or an IBM Shark because of EMC wanting to control our config. We latter traded it for the Clarrion FC (CX600/700) line, which worked well enough but was clearly a few steps below the IBM Shark (a Symettra competor, unfair comparison for sure). Are you dissing the Clarrion line or an even lower end product (I recall Dell

    • by brass1 ( 30288 )

      I wonder if this has any implications for Dell's partnership with EMC. Will Dell not be pushing EMC's low-end iSCSI storage now that they have their own? Or do the offerings from this new acquisition not compete at the same level as the EMC products?

      This will kill Dell's relationship with EMC, something Dell's been trying to do for a while anyway. The Equallogic products compete directly with EMC's low- and mid- range stuff.

      Disclaimer: my employer has a substantial investment in Equallogic gear I help manage.

      • Um, first, there's a LOT more to EMC than low end iSCSI storage. In fact, iSCSI is probably the absolute last thing that should pop into mind when you hear EMC.

        something Dell's been trying to do for a while anyway

        What? Losing a channel partnership isn't something you have to TRY to do. Dell could negotiate cutthroat prices with almost any storage vendor. So if they wanted to, why didn't they?

        Also, what makes you so sure Dell is would stop selling fibre channel? Or what makes you think Dell would stop reselling EMC fibre channel devices?
        iSCSI is so... wr

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TopSpin ( 753 ) *

      I wonder if this has any implications for Dell's partnership with EMC.

      Dell just released the MD3000i which sort of obviates the AX-150. Buying EqualLogic doesn't give Dell a FC platform to obviate the EMC CX gear they're reselling. Perhaps they'll put FC phys on the PS boxes...

      I've always thought of EqualLogic as the NetApp of iSCSI; excellent design and performance but very expensive. Last I heard they had just over 3000 customers. Buying EqualLogic gives Dell the iSCSI SAN assets to compete with EMC/NetApp/IBM enterprise iSCSI.

      HP should'a bought 'em. Perhaps they'll s

      • HP should'a bought 'em. Perhaps they'll snap up LeftHand instead.

        The last LeftHand engineer I talked to seemed to think that might happen. Apparently, LeftHand could get out of the custom hardware business sometime next year, sunsetting the NSM-* line to focus on the HP and IBM-server based offerings. Better hardware, and the speed is the same. The also have a VMware virtual appliance that runs SAN/iQ, so maybe that's a potential buyer.

        This won't hurt the LeftHand product a bit, as it is just software run

  • OpenFiler. [openfiler.com]

    Fantastic piece of kit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I implemented Openfiler, but the poor clustering options (active/passive only) made it a non-starter for anything remotely ctriical in my organization. A SAN simply has to be available, with no interruptions (even a few seconds of failover time breaks many database applications). With Openfiler, clusters essentially have to be local, active/passive, and failover isn't exactly seamless.

      iSCSI Gear like EqualLogic and LeftHand go way beyond this... new devices simply join the cluster, and data is restriped dy
    • I spent last weekend running a number of performance tests (using IOMeter) against a couple of iSCSI targets on a oldish server and there's a performance issue that I just don't understand. The initiator is MS's software on W2K3 R2. I hooked up five 10k spindles and a dedicated RAID box (RAID0) to the server's U160 SCSI HBA. Running IOMeter locally on the server, performance was pretty good for the hardware, about what I'd expect -- with four threads & 4k chunks & 100% random & 50% R/W, an avg
      • You don't mention the switches you're using, but from the fine Equallogic training class I went to a couple of weeks back, a couple of the big things that can effect iSCSI performance are flow control on both the switch and client's ethernet interfaces, disabling unicast storm control on the switch and turning on jumbo frames. The general drift was that iSCSI can pound the snot out of switches and cheap ones just don't work all that well. Stacked Cisco 3750s are apparently popular, and there were a couple c
        • Thanks for the reply. My puzzlement is that when measuring the pure iSCSI performance (with a ramdisk on the target) performance was great, regardless of the network -- avg I/O delays of 1mS with one IOMeter worker thread and 4mS with four worker threads... and a few hundred IOPS. This is all random I/O and the total throughput in MB/s is fairly low and not important for my app.

          When the iSCSI target was disconnected from the ramdisk and connected to the real drives, the avg I/O delays were considerably wo
          • Please write these test and your methodologies up and posit it somewhere. You can even probably get some ad revenue by doing that. I'm sure you'll also get a lot os suggestions as to what the trouble might be. I know I'd like to see the full details of each test myself.
    • OpenFiler sounds interesting. But I have always just loaded Samba. With NFS already part of the xNIX OS it is easy to do. But nice to see it packaged in one nice tidy bundle.

      It does amaze me why companies can make so much in the storage area. Then try to get a lousy 50gb from the administrator of the storage. Being it is so expensive, it is often micro-managed to no-end. I would like to see some honest cost estimates of storage...where does a big box actually make sense, 20TB, 100TB, 1000TB?

      I suspec

  • by The Second Horseman ( 121958 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @05:15PM (#21246335)
    EqualLogic was kind of a cool company that bundled value and decent software engineering into a good package, and had good support for stuff besides just Windows and Linux (VMware, NetWare, etc). Good service, etc. There are probably more than a few EqualLogic customers that are less than thrilled about this.
    • by ndrw ( 205863 )
      I work for a company that has a couple of these SANs, purchased shortly after Dell burned bridges by saying their faulty PowerVault wasn't faulty. I've never been a big Dell fan, so we're all around bummed out about this.
  • Cool! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spazimodo ( 97579 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @05:18PM (#21246401)
    I've been talking to Equallogic guys at various VMWare events and I think they've got a great product. The biggest pain with implementing ESX has been the cost around shared SAN storage (yes you can use NAS now but come on.)

    I love VMWare, but can't stand their parent corp (EMC) and can't wait for the Compaqification of the SAN market with the part of IBM played by EMC. Any company that forces their customers to buy $100 SATA drives for $900 deserves to die at the hands of commoditization.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ocbwilg ( 259828 )
      I love VMWare, but can't stand their parent corp (EMC) and can't wait for the Compaqification of the SAN market with the part of IBM played by EMC. Any company that forces their customers to buy $100 SATA drives for $900 deserves to die at the hands of commoditization.

      If you think that EqualLogic's biggest advantage over EMC was in the hardware prices, you're only getting half the story. The FAR more interesting thing to me was that when you bought the iSCSI array it came with all of the software for sn
  • by warpedma ( 173287 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @05:28PM (#21246521)
    The whole EMC thing makes me wonder the reason for the purchase. That having been said, we've been using EqualLogic for 2 1/2 years, and at the price point, it's pretty much unbeatable. It's ridiculously easy to configure and grow. We've a small staff with a huge amount of storage (35 TB) due to the image intensive nature of our work (digital imaging). EqualLogic has been a life save for us from both time and performance standpoints. We could not have gotten purchase approval for anything faster.
  • EqualLogic seemed to have a relatively well integrated hardware and software solution as well as a good support system. I wonder how Dell taking the reigns will affect this as we were considering implementing a EqualLogic in our organization.
  • More info on Forbes [forbes.com].

    EqualLogic is a data storage systems provider based in Nashua, N.H., with over 3,200 customers in 30 countries. Its virtualization products allow a single computer to function like multiple machines, so companies can spend less on hardware and energy costs in data centers.

    Eh? Aren't they talking about VMware here? EqualLogic sells storage solutions. If he means that several machines can access those storage systems simultaneously, he's out on a limb! I've never heard of such systems!

    • Huh? Are you sharing what you're smoking? The whole point of ESX is that it allows multiple physical boxes to share the same chunk of storage simultaneously. It's kind of required.

      Tim
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jeks ( 68 ) *
        Ouch.. I think my joke went flying straight over your head.
      • by jeks ( 68 ) *
        Also, the article is clearly incorrect in suggesting EqualLogic sells virtualization software. They don't. Granted, they work with VMware but that doesn't mean they have virtualization software of their own.
    • by myxiplx ( 906307 )
      Go read up on Lefthand's SAN/iQ sometime, that's pretty much what that does. It's essentially network raid, turns a bunch of smaller SAN devices into a distributed network.
      • by brass1 ( 30288 )

        Go read up on Lefthand's SAN/iQ sometime, that's pretty much what that does

        The biggest issue I had with the Lefthand solution is that they sell it an an open solution; you, supposedly, can pick anyone's hardware and use Lefthand's software to implement your storage cluster. Only not so much.

        Lefthand certifies exactly three systems. The Prolient SL320s, the IBM System x3650 and a box they OEM from somewhere. Let's see... The prolient hold 12 drives, the ibm box hold 6 drives and Lefthand's OEM box holds 4. The density sucks. A lot.

        Yes, yes. 6 drives/rack unit is really good.

        • by afidel ( 530433 )
          Actually the 320s goes to 14 drives if you replace the DVD drive with the 2xSATA expansion option =) We just got one in not too long ago and they are very nice. 9.75TB in 2U is just incredible if you don't need fast seek times =) We're using one for DR file storage and will be buying another for disk to disk to tape. Neither application is going to tax the system that much and my plan at DR if it's a long term situation is to buy faster storage, robocopying from the DL320s will be much faster than restore f
        • by ender- ( 42944 )

          The biggest issue I had with the Lefthand solution is that they sell it an an open solution; you, supposedly, can pick anyone's hardware and use Lefthand's software to implement your storage cluster. Only not so much.

          Lefthand certifies exactly three systems. The Prolient SL320s, the IBM System x3650 and a box they OEM from somewhere. Let's see... The prolient hold 12 drives, the ibm box hold 6 drives and Lefthand's OEM box holds 4. The density sucks. A lot.

          Yes, yes. 6 drives/rack unit is really good. I agree. Just don't start the sales meeting telling me that you have an open software solution then try to sell me an HP box I don't want.

          Not only that, but in our testing, we've found LeftHand to be slower than EqualLogic, and the interface isn't nearly as good. In addition, they continue to spout the 'open hardware' aspect, but they don't even support adding more than the default 2 NICs per box, which we have an issue with. Heck we weren't even thrilled with the 3 NICs on EqualLogic, but at least it's more than 2, and has 3 more failover NICs. What's the point in having a server with extra PCIe/PCI-X slots if you're not even allowed to use

    • by pjr.cc ( 760528 )
      he mentions VMWare because equalogic + vmware have been working together for some time to make the equalogic solution with vmware perform exceptionally well.

      And if you knew vmware esx, you'd also know that vmfs is a cluster filesystem (like ocfs2 and gfs2) where multiple machines *DO* access the block device at the same time (in a co-ordinated fashion).

      And if you've never heard of a cluster file system before then perhaps you shouldn't be commenting on a storage product - or at least, perhaps you should do
  • I work for a company that sells these equalogic units (and install/train) and they are quite impressive.

    I wont bang on about them, but they have a number of plus's which make them great for smaller companies and they scale quite remarkably well. They're pretty simple to manage and so forth (but you can get at the guts of them, they run a bsd variant).

    One of the things i do appreciate about them is its 1 cost and you get everything they have to offer (on the software side anyways) and you dont have to get an
    • iSCSI is new; but with the introduction of 10G into the maistream you will see it take a chunk out of Fibre Channel SANS. As it should. Now; there are redundancy issues to address; but the technology is coming. EMC has priced them selves into a corner.

You can fool all the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough. -- Joseph E. Levine

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