Dell to buy virtual storage company Compellent - A good cloud play.

For those that are big fans of Dell or Compellent (like I am), some great news is coming out of Round Rock, TX. Dell has just closed a deal to buy virtual storage company Compellent. I’ve heard figures ranging from $820 million to $960 million, but the acquisition could be worth much more to Dell if they are able to execute in the mid-market virtualized storage and cloud computing space.

Virtualized storage offers businesses the ultimate flexibility by inserting a virtual layer between the blocks that are written to by attached servers and the physical disk blocks. Anyone who has worked with traditional SAN implementations knows the headaches that come from inflexible LUNs and being forced to over-provision space to ensure room for growth. The virtual layer in these new SANs allows you to thin-provision space out to servers. Thin-provisioning allows you to ‘promise’ a server a certain size LUN (say 2 TB) without actually committing that much space on disk. Alerts that are setup by SAN administrators inform them when a threshold has been reached for used disk space (say 80%) and they simply add more disks as needed to meet growth needs. By the same token, if a LUN is in need of more spindles for an increased IOPS load, an administrator can dynamically re-stripe the data across more disks to meet that demand.

Not only are virtualized SANs more flexible and more efficient to operate, they often do so at a lower price point than traditional SANs. Companies like Compellent also offer many if not all of the features of larger ‘enterprise’ SAN vendors at a fraction of the cost. They are just as reliable and scale up well to meet growth and demand needs. This flexibility and scalability are key in the cloud computing space as infrastructure has to react to demand dynamically.

Compellent will be an excellent addition to the Dell storage portfolio. I’m looking forward to implementing many more of their units in SMEs and Fortune 500s. It’s great to see a small company with a huge idea move into a larger company that has the cash and sales force to flood the channel with their offering.

For an in-depth analysis of your storage environment and future needs, contact the Silicon Whisperer. I’ll be happy to scope out a new storage solution, data growth plan and migration path for your business.

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