The sudden news of Dell putting on the table $1.4 billion in cash to purchase EqualLogic must have caught not only me but also many storage pundits by surprise.
May be that's why so many commentaries seem to focus mainly on two easy to spot technologies that EqualLogic brings to the merge, iSCSI and virtualization.
Are these the only two jewels that motivated Dell to engage in the most expensive purchase in its history? I beg to disagree. However important, iSCSI and virtualization are not the main motivation for Dell, and here is why.
Dell is not new to iSCSI. In fact, Dell already has well established iSCSI products in its portfolio, including the recently announced PowerVault MD3000i and the AX150i.
Moreover, unified storage products such as the NX1950 can be configured also as iSCSI targets in addition to working as file servers.
Still thinking that Dell needs more iSCSI solutions? I don't think so.
To those who wave the "virtualization" flag I respectfully ask to explain what they mean.
That word has a very precise significance in the servers world, perhaps thanks to companies such as VMware, but in storage the term virtualization without further qualifications means nothing, zero, squat.
I don't think that Dell is going to bet all that money on an empty term, so what attracts the company toward EqualLogic must be something else.
Try, clustered storage? Resilience beyond RAID? Scalability without many restrictions? Near-linear performance increase? Yes, yes, yes and again yes.
Those are the same tangible characteristics of EqualLogic products that have intrigued our reviewers since 2003.
Perhaps nobody said it better than Paul Venezia, in his fairly recent review:
There are many ways to build and scale an iSCSI SAN, but the general rule is that as you add capacity, you also add bandwidth. With EqualLogic, this is part and parcel of the overall solution: You can’t add capacity without adding bandwidth.
This is what makes EqualLogic products not just another iSCSI solution. This is what will give Dell, if the deal goes through, one of the most comprehensive and diversified portfolio of storage solutions to date. I can't wait to see what new products will come out of this merge.