Dell’s packed performant PowerStore update

Dell has release version 2.1 of its PowerStore software with performance improvements, NVMe/TCP functionality, automated IP SAN setup and management improvements. It’s also released XtremIO v6.4 software, and there’s more coming.

PowerStore is Dell’s core mid-range unified file and block access array, and converged the prior Unity, VNX and XtremIO product lines. PowerStore OS 2.0 was announced in April last year so v2.1 comes along nine months later with, Dell blogger VP technologists Itzik Reich writes, “performance improvements and additional functionality to support current and future workloads.”

His blog indicates that the release includes:

  • Portfolio-wide performance boost compared with the PowerStore 2.0 release;
    • More IOPS for every PowerStore model – up to 34 per cent at comparable response times (transactional latency);
  • Support for NVMe over Ethernet fabrics with NVMe/TCP and SmartFabric Storage Software (SFSS);
    • Provides advanced manageability and automation with infrastructure costs almost 25 per cent lower than Fibre Channel;
    • Performance up to 45 per cent higher than iSCSI;
    • Supported with SFSS in Dell and non-Dell switch environments;
    • Utilises existing 25Gbit and 10Gbit embedded and IO module ethernet ports;
    • Support for VMware vSphere 7.0U3 (as soon as re-released by VMware) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES);
  • Additional new features with PowerStoreOS 2.1;
    • Improved AI for performance load balancing;
    • Windows 2022 support for agentless import;
    • Volume application tags;
    • Customisable login banner;
    • SSL Certificate import for management.
Itzik Reich.

The entry-level PowerStore 500 also gets DC power support. Reich notes: “Either AC or DC power is selected at the time of ordering and a PowerStore 500 system cannot be converted from using AC to DC or from DC to AC PSUs.” 


The NVMe/TCP support was actually announced last September along with the SmartFabric Storage Software (SFSS) feature, an end-to-end NVMe IP SAN system created in partnership with VMware.

There is a lot of information about these two items. Reich blogs: “Starting in PowerStoreOS 2.1, Ethernet interfaces can be used for iSCSI or NVMe/TCP host connectivity on PowerStore T model appliances. Ethernet interface creation is deployed in mirrored pairs to both PowerStore nodes since these interfaces do not fail over. This configuration ensures that the host has continuous access to block-level storage resources if one node becomes unavailable.”

Also: “NVMe/TCP is supported on 25GbitE (4-port) I/O module for front end host access 25GbitE speeds.” Note that: “When a Volume is created, all the unique identifiers for SCSI and NVMe are created with it. Once the Volume is mapped to a host, then it is defined as an NVMe-attached Volume or a SCSI-attached Volume. Hosts can only be attached to NVMe OR to SCSI at the same time. You cannot have a Volume mapped to NVMe and SCSI hosts at the same time.”

A YouTube video demos PowerStore NVMe/TCP. 

PowerStore v2.1 YouTube video demoing NCMe/TCP.

About SFSS, he writes: “In this initial release, SFSS is a standalone software solution packaged as a containerised application enabling an end-to-end automated and integrated NVMe-oF solution running TCP over an Ethernet fabric.”

Performance boost 

Reich exhibits a chart showing percentage IOPS improvements from v2 to v2.1 at various latency levels. The actual IOPS numbers are not shown, and the percentage range is 2 per cent to 34 per cent.

PowerStore performance improvements.

There are no charts showing improvements per PowerStore model.

The other new features are less of a headline nature. With Volume Application tags “Users can then use application-centric management to view and sort through their volumes by application type by adding the new ‘Application’ column in the list view.” It will help with volume management.

V2.1 PowerStore OS release notes can be found here.

XtremIO v6.4

For XtremIO system users, version 6.4 provides:

  • SNMPv3 support
    • cluster performance metrics over SNMPv3 in agent mode (server to client);
    • SNMPv3 differs from previous versions of SNMP in user authentication functionality with user keys to encrypt the data being transferred;
  • Replication
    • intermixing optical and copper ports simultaneously for native replication IP links;
    • raises an alert if two links in a cluster are not active;
    • adjustable bookmark retention times;
    • option to use fully qualified domain name (FQDN) instead of IP for Peer-XMS to better align with industry best practices;
    • integration with RecoverPoint now supports the Snapshot creation type/username being displayed at showing-protection-copies for remote-protection sessions;
  • Syslog support – sending logs to a central Syslog server;
  • Emulex-related enhancements – address several potential Emulex kernel and chip issues;
  • Changes to the supported configurations of the XMS Remote Support Feature – with XMS version 6.4.0-22 (or later) the email and legacy SRS-GW XMS remote support configurations are not supported.

More details here.

Reich sent out a teaser Tweet saying another PowerStore release or product – Prime – is coming: