Gartner’s verdict on mid-range and enterprise class storage arrays

Previously I wrote an article on how to select a SAN based on your requirement. Let’s learn what Gartner’s verdict on Storage. Gartner scores storage arrays in mid-range and enterprise class storage. Here are details of Gartner score.

Mid-Range Storage

Mid-range storage arrays are scored on manageability, Reliability and Availability (RAS), performance, snapshot and replication, scalability, the ecosystem, multi-tenancy and security, and storage efficiency.


Figure: Product Rating


Figure: Storage Capabilities


Figure: Product Capabilities


Figure: Total Score

Enterprise Class Storage

Enterprise class storage is scored on performance, reliability, scalability, serviceability, manageability, RAS, snapshot and replication, ecosystem, multi-tenancy, security, and storage efficiency. Vendor reputation are more important in this criteria. Product types are clustered, scale-out, scale-up, high-end (monolithic) arrays and federated architectures. EMC, Hitachi, HP, Huawei, Fujitsu, DDN, and Oracle arrays can all cluster across more than 2 controllers. These vendors are providing functionality, performance, RAS and scalability to be considered in this class.


Figure: Product Ratings (Source: Gartner)

Where does Dell Compellent Stand?

There are known disadvantages in Dell Compellent storage array, users with more than two nodes must carefully plan firmware upgrades during a time of low I/O activity or during periods of planned downtime. Even though Dell Compellent advertised as flash cached, Read SSD and Write SSD with storage tiering, snapshot. In realty Dell Compellent does its own thing in background which most customer isn’t aware of. Dell Compellent run RAID scrub every day whether you like it or not which generate huge IOPS in all tiered arrays which are both SSD and SATA disks. You will experience poor IO performance during RAID scrub. When Write SSD is full Compellent controller automatically trigger an on demand storage tiering during business hour and forcing data to be written permanently in tier 3 disks which will literally kill virtualization, VDI and file systems. Storage tiering and RAID scrub will send storage latency off the roof. If you are big virtualization and VDI shop than you are left with no option but to experience this poor performance and let RAID scrub and tiering finish at snail pace. If you have terabytes of data to be backed up every night you will experience extended backup window, un-achievable RPO and RTO regardless of change block tracking (CBT) enabled in backup products.

If you are one of Compellent customer wondering why Garner didn’t include Dell Compellent in Enterprise class. Now you know why Dell Compellent is excluded in enterprise class matrix as Dell Compellent doesn’t fit into the functionality and capability requirement to be considered as enterprise class. There is another factor that may worry existing Dell EqualLogic customer as there is no direct migration path and upgrade path have been communicated with on premises storage customers once OEM relationship between Dell and EMC ends. Dell pro-support and partner channel confirms that Dell will no longer sell SAS drive which means IO intense array will lose storage performance. These situations put users of co-branded Dell:EMC CX systems in the difficult position of having to choose between changing changing storage system technologies or changing storage vendor all together.

How to upgrade firmware of brocade fabric switch


  • Filezilla FTP Server
  • Filezilla FTP Client
  • Putty
  • Java JRE installed on admin PC
  • Log on credential for Brocade website or respective vendor website e.g. IBM/Dell
  • Downloaded upgrade firmware

Upgrade Path.

  • Fabric OS 5.0.x to 5.2.3 is supported
  • Fabric OS 5.1.x to 5.3.1a is supported, but upgrading from Fabric OS 5.0.x or a previous release directly to 5.3.1a is not.
  • Fabric OS 6.0.0b is only allowed from Fabric OS 5.3.x.
  • Fabric OS 6.1.2c is allowed only from Fabric OS 6.0.0b
  • Fabric OS 6.2.2f is allowed only from Fabric OS 6.1.0a or later.
  • Fabric OS 6.3.2e is allowed only from Fabric OS 6.2.0a or later. You can upgrade non-disruptively from 6.2
  • Fabric OS 6.4.3f is allowed only from Fabric OS 6.3.x. Fabric OS 7.0.2 can be done non-disruptively from Fabric OS 6.4.1a or later.
  • Fabric OS 7.1.2 can be non-disruptively upgraded from 7.0.x and 7.1.x.
  • Fabric OS 7.2.1 can be done non-disruptively from 7.1.x. Disruptively from 7.0.x is supported.
  • Fabric OS 7.3.0 can be done non-disruptively from 7.2.x. Disruptively from 7.1.x is supported

Note:  Disruptively means ports will go offline during the upgrade.

Step1: Turn off firewall.

Turn off firewall on Windows machine where you will install FTP server.

Step2: Configure FTP server

Download Filezilla FTP server for windows.

Install Filezilla FTP server. Installation is pretty simple. just run the installer GUI and accept the default. You may find there are third party software embedded with Filezilla, decline first two and then click next to install FTP server. Once installed. Click Edit, Click Settings. Select following. Setup timed out value to 9999.


Enable logging. so that you can see brocade is connecting to FTP server.


Create an anonymous user account and set password to none.


Set shared folder location and click Set as home dir


Actual location of firmware in my PC.


Step3: Test FTP connectivity

Now install Filezilla client and test connectivity


Step4: Upgrade Firmware in Brocade

Now open Putty, Type IP address of brocade switch. leave the default port 22.


Log on to brocade fabric or rebranded brocade fabric using root and fibranne as password

Type firmwaredownload

IP address: or IP address of your PC where you configured Filezilla FTP server

Username: blank or Hit enter I am using anonymous FTP. No need to type username

Path: /v7.1.2b or the path where you saved firmware. See the screen shoot on FTP client

Password: blank Hit enter I am using anonymous FTP. No need to type password

Do you want to continue? [y/n]:y




Close putty session now. This procedure will reboot the Brocade switch. You are done.

Brocade Reference

Once Brocade Fabric is rebooted, reconnect using putty, log on and type firmwareshow to see the current version of firmware.

If you would like to upgrade from  v7.1.2b to v7.3.0c directly. use the following command. This is a disruptive upgrade procedure.

firmwareDownload –s

IP address: or IP address of your PC where you configured Filezilla FTP server

Username: blank or Hit enter I am using anonymous FTP. No need to type username

Path: /v7.3.0c or the path where you saved firmware. See the screen shoot on FTP client

Password: blank Hit enter I am using anonymous FTP. No need to type password

Do you want to continue? [y/n]:y

Do Auto-Commit after Reboot [Y]: y

Reboot system after download [N]: y

Firmware is being downloaded to the switch. This step may take up to 30 minutes.

In fact this will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. have cup of coffee and relax.

Brocade reference