PowerFlex systems combine Dell EMC PowerEdge servers with the PowerFlex software foundation to create a software-defined SAN. The PowerFlex family, which includes the PowerFlex appliance and PowerFlex rack, are fully supported and configured to customer specifications. PowerFlex rack nodes are validated server building blocks that are configured for use with PowerFlex systems. Designed for customers who prefer to build their own environments, the rack nodes are available with thousands of configuration options.
Customers have several configuration options—from high-capacity hard drives or solid-state drives (SSDs) to newer storage technologies such as Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) or Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) flash. With these options, customers can create storage tiers that match their capacity and performance requirements. Complementary to storage tiering is the ability to use Quality of Service (QoS) settings. With QoS, customers can define maximum IOPS, maximum IOPS per GB, maximum bandwidth, and maximum bandwidth per GB.
PowerFlex virtualization software supports data compression, which saves valuable storage space on SSDs. Compression is not enabled by default; rather, it must be specified when a volume is created. If a volume does not support compression, then thin provisioning is used by default. Thin provisioning is a technology that reserves storage space by allocating only space that is used, enabling more efficient use of storage.
PowerFlex Manager software controls PowerFlex systems, managing the node and switch hardware, including firmware, BIOS, and health. It maintains compliance with a Release Certification Matrix to ensure a proper operating configuration. PowerFlex Manager automates and simplifies management of the PowerFlex storage. The dashboard provides a health and history summary of the PowerFlex system. From the dashboard, an administrator can easily monitor server, storage, and services utilization. The resources screen provides a view into the PowerFlex system, PowerFlex gateways, and hypervisor clusters. For a quick video overview, see PowerFlex Manager (formerly referred to as VxFlex Manager) on YouTube.
Big data is best positioned on a storage platform that offers scalability. With PowerFlex systems, the architecture can scale from four nodes up to thousands of nodes. This scalability provides more granular sizing in that the IT organization can start small, with a minimal investment, and add nodes and racks over time. Each additional node adds more capacity and performance to the PowerFlex system.