Tech Corner

Dell Compellent Vs. Dell EqualLogic: Differences, Use Cases, And More

Dell has long been a stalwart of enterprise technology, especially with its diverse storage offerings. Dell EqualLogic and Dell Compellent are among the company’s most dependable data center storage options. 

In recent years, Dell has doubled its efforts to innovate in storage. For instance, it announced many new features for its PowerStore lineup. Meanwhile, Compellent and EqualLogic products remain desirable despite having been discontinued for a while. 

In this article, we will provide the following:

  • A high-level comparison between the two storage options, without getting into specific models.
  • Answers to questions about how to add these Dell storage options to your infrastructure.
  • Answers to questions about maintaining these options beyond their lives.

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Dell Compellent At A Glance

The Dell Compellent series resulted from Dell’s acquisition of Compellent Technologies, a Minnesota-based company that offered block-level storage. It’s not a storage product per se but a series of products and services catering to different technology functions, mainly data storage. 

Although known as Dell Compellent, the storage products were sold as “Storage Center (SC).” These all-in-one storage arrays are highly efficient with block data, seamlessly moving data between storage tiers or RAID levels. 

The Storage Center products offered massive capacity — as much as six petabytes. 

Over the years, Dell has gradually phased out the name Compellent, and the SC lineup of products and services has been discontinued. Many lineups, including SC, were discontinued as Dell pivoted toward flash-based storage. 

Dell EqualLogic At A Glance

Much like the Compellent lineup, the Dell EqualLogic (also called the PS series) came out due to an acquisition. EqualLogic was a data storage company from New Hampshire that Dell acquired in 2008. 

Dell's EqualLogic virtualized IP storage solutions utilize an advanced peer storage architecture. Storage caters to the deployment and administration of consolidated storage environments. It offers perpetual self-optimization through automated load balancing across various components, including disks, RAID sets, connections, cache, and controllers. 

These products are suited to small to medium enterprises that want consolidated, reliable storage.

Like Compellent, the EqualLogic PS Series products have reached or are due to reach their end of service life (EOSL). Most of them are due to reach EOSL in 2024. 

Dell Compellent Vs. Dell EqualLogic: The Differences

Dell EqualLogic and Dell Compellent are two distinct storage solutions, each catering to specific needs within the enterprise storage landscape. One key difference lies in their underlying architectures. Dell EqualLogic employs a peer storage architecture, emphasizing simplicity and ease of use. It incorporates automated load balancing and straightforward management interfaces to create an intuitive and user-friendly storage environment. 

In contrast, Dell Compellent utilizes a more sophisticated and flexible storage architecture. Its approach involves a combination of block-level virtualization and automated tiered storage, allowing organizations to optimize performance and efficiency by dynamically moving data between different storage tiers based on usage patterns.

Dell Compellent Storage Center products were some of the most sophisticated and advanced at their release, beating out competitors easily. Even though newer, more advanced storage products and services like PowerStore and PowerScale are available today, the technology of the SC series is still reliable and does its job well. 

Another notable difference between the two storage options lies in their scalability models. Dell EqualLogic follows a scale-out model, enabling organizations to expand their storage capacity seamlessly by adding more arrays. This approach is particularly advantageous for businesses with dynamic and growing storage requirements. 

On the other hand, Dell Compellent adopts a scale-up model, allowing for expansion within a single array by adding more drives or enclosures. This design is suitable for organizations with more predictable and linear growth patterns. 

While EqualLogic offers scalability, Dell recommends Compellent for enterprises with large storage needs (over 200 terabytes). 

The Acquisition And Maintenance Costs

Cost is a big factor when acquiring hardware, whether upfront procurement costs or the continuous licensing and maintenance fee. In the case of Dell Compellent vs. Dell EqualLogic, the former is a more expensive choice.

Firstly, Dell Compellent's lineup is more recent than EqualLogic. Second, and more importantly, it’s designed for large volumes of data in large data centers (not to mention all the bells and whistles like automated tiers and thin provisioning), so it’s comparatively pricier. 

If you’re reading this article, you might own one of these products and be more concerned with the maintenance costs. As of 2023, Dell has announced EOSL dates for most of SC's and EqualLogic's storage products, which means that as those dates approach, your appliances will no longer have support from Dell. 

Maintaining these beyond the EOSL with Dell may be too expensive or downright impossible, as the company may simply not offer support beyond that date. However, maintaining legacy storage arrays like EqualLogic or SC shouldn’t be expensive if you choose the right third-party maintenance (TPM) provider

TPMs can be a much cheaper option for legacy equipment and a surefire way to delay the refresh (thereby saving capital expenditure). 


Winning With Maintenance (Where OneCall Comes In)

Regarding Dell Compellent and Dell EqualLogic, maintenance shouldn’t be something to worry about. It’s very much possible to extend the usage of your storage arrays beyond their stipulated EOSL dates, thanks to OneCall, PivIT’s highly sought-after IT maintenance service. 

At OneCall, we specialize in supporting legacy equipment, allowing enterprises to avoid unnecessary maintenance premiums from OEM and delay refresh cycles to save money upfront. 

Get coverage tailored to your networks and confidence, knowing when something happens, your spares will be there.

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