Dell unveils PowerStore Prime with enhanced NVMe performance and scalability

Dell is upgrading its PowerStore software to PowerStore Prime at Dell Technologies World 2024 in Las Vegas, as well as introducing a QLC (4 bits/cell) model to increase storage density and lower cost per TB.

PowerStore is Dell’s mid-range, dual-controller, unified file and block storage array. Version 3.0 of the PowerStore OS was announced in May 2022. The current gen 2 PowerStore hardware employs Cascade Lake Xeon CPU controllers and a new “no compromises” QLC system – the PowerStore 3200Q – is being announced. The container-based PowerStore v3.6.1.1 OS is upgraded to PowerStore v4.0 in a PowerStore Prime initiative.

Dell’s SVP for product management, Travis Vigil, blogs: “Dell Technologies is pleased to announce PowerStore Prime, an integrated offering that combines all-flash storage advancements with new strategic business advantages to help our customers compete in a rapidly changing world.” 

There are six PowerStore models: the  all-flash 500T, 1200T, 3200T, 5200T, and 9200T, all using TLC (3 bits/cell) SSDs in 2RU x 24 drive chassis, with the new 3200Q being a QLC (4 bits/cell) flash variant using 15.36TB NVMe drives. It can expand from 11 to 93 drives in single drive increments, reaching more than 24PB effective in a 4-way cluster. The 3200Q with the v4 OS supports block, file and vVol storage protocols.

PowerStore model specifications.

V4 PowerStore OS increases end-to-end NVMe performance and scalability, with federated clusters able to reach 23PB effective capacity. A 2RU x 24-drive slot node can scale up to 1PB of raw capacity and a cluster can scale out to eight active-active nodes.

TLC (3 bits/cell) or QLC (4 bits/cell) NVMe SSDs (3200Q only) are available, as well as NVMe/TCO and NVMe/FC over external networks. Dell says: “This end-to-end NVMe ecosystem delivers extremely high IOPS value and sub-millisecond latency.” SmartFabric storage networking software provides the industry’s first fully automated end-to-end NVMe deployment, meaning no manual networking admin effort is needed.

Dell PowerStore Prime
The software performance boost compares PowerStore OS v4.0 with a 70/30 read/write mix and 128K block size over Fibre Channel, with PowerStore 5200’s peak IOPS running PowerStore OS v3.6

There is a guaranteed 5:1 data reduction level from always-on deduplication and compression. Dell claims this “keeps capacity and power costs perpetually low, reducing the data footprint in the background with no performance trade-offs.”

When volumes need to be rebalanced across PowerStore appliances, a machine learning engine is used, with Dell claiming a 99 percent reduction in admin time to accomplish rebalancing.

Dell is now offering options to move live PowerStore workloads to and from APEX Block Storage

Data resilience

Dell has five types of data protection available, including new synchronous replication for block and file, in a single workflow. A patented Dynamic Resiliency Engine (DRE) protects mission-critical data, using virtualization methods to safeguard against simultaneous drive failures.

PowerStore Prime performance, efficiency, resilience and multi-cloud features slide.

In multi-appliance environments, native file, block, and vVol replication provides secure, immutable, policy-based snapshot data mobility and protection for all workloads. Over shorter distances (up to 60 miles), native Metro Synchronous Replication provides a high availability feature with zero RTO/RPOs. It is software-only, configurable in six clicks, and comes at no extra charge.

PowerStore v4.0 users can backup, restore, and migrate to the public cloud via APEX offerings. An integration with PowerProtect DD enables users to configure and manage remote or multicloud backups directly from the PowerStore Manager UI, using an included Instant Access capability for simple, granular restores.

Admin features and integrations

There is a PowerStore AIOps application – Dell APEX AIOps – accessible from any mobile device, in the cloud, which “reduces time to resolution” with a new generative AI assistant. It mitigates cyber security risks, improves staff productivity, and forecasts future storage needs. Dell’s ISG VP technologists Itzik Reich blogs: “The release is supported by … a new Gen AI-powered version of our APEX AIOPs Infrastructure Observability tool (formerly CloudIQ) that adds natural language query support to deliver instantaneous high-quality answers to any question about Dell’s infrastructure products. Essentially, you’ll be able to ‘talk’ to CloudIQ, saving hours of research, resolving issues and optimizing your infrastructure faster!” 

PowerStore Prime future-proofing slide.

PowerStore services can be provisioned at the VM-level directly from vSphere. VMware integrations include vRO, VAAI, and VASA support with VSI plugins, native blocks, vVols and file datastores, vVols-over-NVMe networking, and native vVol replication.

Storage workflows can be automated via a REST API and integrations with several orchestration frameworks. DevOps users can reduce deployments from days to seconds by provisioning PowerStore directly from Kubernetes using Ansible, Terraform integrations, and the platform’s CSI (Container Storage Interface) plugin. Dell Container Storage Modules (CSM) bring enterprise storage capabilities to Kubernetes to facilitate cloud-native workloads. Amazon EKS support enables users to run container orchestration across the public clouds and on-premises environments.

PowerStore has non-disruptive, data-in-place controller upgrades. Dell says all array software is included in the hardware purchase – both the initial OS release and continuous performance and feature upgrades. There is no licensing for purchase or maintenance, and all software enhancements are provided at no charge for the life of the product.

Dell says partners can increase PowerStore sales with competitively priced product bundles and deliver expanded use cases for joint customers. Partners can also streamline sales motions when selling PowerStore and PowerProtect offers together.


PowerStore software enhancements will be globally available in late May. PowerStore QLC model and data-in-place higher-model appliance upgrades for Gen 2 customers will be globally available in July. PowerStore multi-cloud data mobility will be globally available in the second quarter of 2024. APEX AIOps Infrastructure Observability and Incident Management are available now. Application Observability availability is planned for October 2024.

Download a PowerStoreOS v4 datasheet here. Check out a PowerStore Prime blog here. Look at PowerStore model details here.