Here’s a first report coming from the Dell Storage Forum held in the steamy Orlando, FL. This morning Darren Thomas and Phil Soran jumped on stage to present the Dell storage vision, stating that “Dell is the hottest storage startup in the industry” and that they effectively transitioned from being a reseller to a full-fledged storage vendor, this reflects a strong move for Dell (and as far as I know HP is trying hard to do the same) and points out that storage is still the hot topic in the IT industry.

But let’s jump to the announcements, first and foremost we have the Equallogic FS7500 which is a NAS component completely integrated into the Equallogic fabric (it’s managed as a group member), it’s using IP coming from Exanet acquisition (just like the NX3500) and it’s managed by the same management console as regular Equallogic systems (dipping the toe in the unified space).

This little jewel supports half a petabyte filesystem shares but it’s not a hard limit, it’s just what they have tested and certified in the labs today, it can scale way beyond that.

Another nice addition is Equallogic firmware 5.1 which supports the new FS7500 NAS, introduce new load balancing capabilities based on latency metrics (with a 3–5% performance improvement), introduce the first DCB for iSCSI in the market, introduce Thin provisioning Stun primitive support for VAAI (coming in vSphere 5) and as usual is a free upgrade if you have an active support contract.

Equallogic 5.1 Firmware is expected to be released in Q3.

Then there’s another addition to the Powervault family: the new MD3600f/MD3630f both sporting fibre channel connectivity, this announcement means two things:

  • NetApp Engenio OEMs are not going away
  • Fibre Channel is still relevant even in the lower end of the market

No breakthrough announcements for Compellent nor Ocarina, we just had a quick brief that Compellent is getting Commvault SnapProtect support in the second half of 2011 and that an Exanet and Ocarina integration is in the works but the didn’t make a commitment on a date or quarter.

That’s all for now, tomorrow Michael Dell will pop on stage for a fireside chat on fluid data and it will surely be worth to watch.