Ask Umi the IT dog

Dear Umi:

I’m refreshing the storage that powers our enterprise file services – collaborative Microsoft applications, file shares, media content from the brand and creative departments. Meanwhile our AI group is moving from the development phase to production and tell me they are going to need a petabyte of capacity for their AI workflow in the next 12 months and it will grow at ½ petabyte a year after that.


I can’t seem to find a system that appears to be really strong at both enterprise file services and AI workflows. How can this be? Even the new Dell offerings seem to focus on either one or the other of these two workloads.


– Mixed up in Memphis



Dear Mixed Up in Memphis:

I’ve spent too many dog years in software product management to bark at. I’m happier now that I’m in the blogosphere. But my watchwords when developing products was always, “make your users’ job easier.” And that generally meant, as technology advanced, consolidating digital toolsets and functionality into a single product.


Consolidation drives efficiency and means two things to me. One, it drives capital cost and maintenance overhead out of the “equipment”, but more importantly, it makes your end-user more productive. They can get more done in less time. Or they can get it done better in the same amount of time. So, it’s easy for me to be blind-sided by companies who come along with a revenue maximization model that has them releasing products that are only partial solutions. Especially when their competitors are building more complete solutions at similar price points.


Dell’s recent storage product offering – PowerStore is one such partial solution. I would have expected that the newly released product that Dell has talked about for nearly two years before releasing it would have driven consolidation in two ways. One, it would have consolidated Dell’s storage portfolio. It didn’t, it added complexity to Dell’s portfolio. And two, that is would have driven consolidation for Dell’s customer’s challenges. It doesn’t do that either.


Let’s take your challenge in Memphis. For all the right reasons, you’d like a system that provides terrific data availability, data protection, data security, data governance and data mobility to the cloud for enterprise file workloads and also provides scale-out cost-effective, low-latency hybrid clusters for AI (and other big data) workloads. This type of consolidation is something that digital technology in the year 2020 can provide – if the product management team had their heart set on it.


Evidently not at Dell.

  1. PowerStore lacks enterprise availability – it only provides RAID-5 protection for a single drive failure. Our research shows that over one in every 200 customers of PowerStore is at high-risk of losing data.
    • Does Dell simply want to sell you an additional system for backup and recovery?
  2. PowerStore has severe file workload limitations, both from a hardware scalability and software file system functionality perspective.
    • Does Dell simply want to sell you the new PowerScale system for your larger scale-out file workloads like big data and AI?
  3. PowerStore doesn’t even provide an industry advancement in performance either.
    • Does Dell simply want to protect their PowerMax sales?


Memphis, I suggest you look at NetApp ONTAP software. It can scale-out with all-flash and hybrid arrays in the same cluster. It has terrific small file and large file performance – along with industry-leading Quality of Service functionality to keep your mission-critical workloads performing consistently, ONTAP provides an AI control plane for edge-to-core-to-cloud AI data pipelines, ONTAP has data security and governance features that don’t exist in any of Dell’s dozen storage platforms, and ONTAP pioneered the data fabric that provide actual hybrid, multi-cloud data mobility.


Your enterprise workloads will be safe and your AI workloads will be blazing with a single ONTAP cluster. More information is available at


– Umi The IT Dog


Umi The IT Dog

Umi is an IT infrastructure expert and a dog. Umi enjoys long hikes, chasing squirrels, catching balls and giving advice on data center migration, consolidation and your path to the cloud. Not only does Umi have a great sense of smell but can sniff out and trouble shoot any of your IT infrastructure challenges. Go ahead ask Umi the IT dog.

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