I was asked today about Dell’s relatively newish (last 6 months or so) addition to the PowerVault line – the PowerVault MD3200i/3220i arrays. The person I was talking to managed IT for what I would consider a small/medium organization and is working on securing a replacement for his existing end-of-life iSCSI-based SAN (I’m in a very similar situation, so we commiserated). He’s fine with iSCSI, but was wondering what I know about this offering from Dell. He’s spoken with Dell, but they’ve continually pushed him toward EqualLogic, which is outside his budget. He understands that EqualLogic’s offerings are very good and still might push to go in that direction but so far, he’s not been able to get much third party information about the PowerVault. His environment is pretty heavily virtualized on ESXi 4.1. In my own perusing of the VMware HCL, I see that the MD3200i/3220i are supported under ESX/ESXi 4.1 so he seems fine there.
I’ve also looked at the MD3220i array as a potential replacement for my existing iSCSI-based AX4, but have not been able to locate a lot of independent information and, like my friend, was also pushed by Dell toward EqualLogic. I’m not sure if this is a sign that the MD3220i array is a terrible option or if it simply means that the EqualLogic profit margins are higher.
I’d love to get some “in the field” feedback from those that have either deployed or significantly evaluated the MD3200i/3220i arrays, particularly as it relates to interoperability with VMware ESXi 4.1