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Dell PowerVault MD3420 Provides Performance, Flexibility, and Business Continuity

If your business is considering updating its storage infrastructure or adding shared storage to support its virtualization efforts, it's important that you are knowledgeable about the different options and capabilities available to you. Storage arrays have come a long way in the past few years, so if your business has not purchased one recently, you may be unaware of the features of the latest storage generations.

In this post, we'll review the Dell PowerVault MD3420 SAS Storage Array, which can be an attractive storage option for organizations of all sizes. It offers a price point that is reasonable for small and midsize businesses, as well as a unique blend of power, reliability, versatility and ease of use.

It should be mentioned that the MD3420 is identical to the PowerVault MD3400 except for the fact that the MD3420 takes up to 24 x 2.5" and the MD3400 takes up to 12 x 3.5" drives. Each feature mentioned in the post applies to both Dell models.

Dell PowerVault MD3420 Provides Performance, Flexibility, and Business Continuity

12Gb/s SAS Connectivity

The MD3420 SAS array doubles the throughput capability of previous generations with 12Gb/s SAS connectivity, the latest technology in high-speed data connectivity. The level of bandwidth offered by the MD3420 system removes bottlenecks to accommodate very data-intensive industries like manufacturing, engineering and healthcare and makes it a perfect solution for virtual environments. Best of all, the MD3420 is able to offer this level of performance without having to sacrifice flexibility and ease of use.

The high performance 12Gb/s SAS connectivity and flexible controller options makes the MD3420 well suited for server consolidation, especially paired with virtualization. The MD3420 supports up to two, quad-port controllers with up to 8GB cache per controller to consolidate up to four servers in a redundant path or eight non-redundant servers. Unlike fibre channel or iSCSI storage arrays, the direct attached SAS connectivity offered by the Dell MD3420 does not require expensive switches to connect to servers. This is another reason that the MD3420 can be a very good choice for small and midsize businesses with limited budgets to work with.


The PowerVault MD3420 can be used to support virtualized clusters for both VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V environments. The MD3420 helps support the failover capabilities of both of these clustered environments, making it a great choice for businesses that want to establish reliability and business continuity in their systems.


Finally, the MD3420 can be a great choice for businesses of all sizes because it is highly scalable, and can grow as the business itself grows. If additional capacity is needed, the MD3420 can scale easily by simply daisy-chaining additional hot-pluggable PowerVault MD1220, MD1200 or MD3060e expansion enclosures for up to 192 hard drives. This means that a smaller organization can select MD3420 to meet their current storage needs and their budget, without having to worry that they may instantly outgrow the system and need to replace it sooner than expected. This level of flexibility can be a tremendous benefit in an era when business data and storage requirements are growing faster than ever.

Final Thoughts

The PowerVault MD3420 offers the scalability, high performance connectivity, and high availability required for the most demanding workloads, but perhaps the best part is that you won’t have to blow through your entire IT budget to get it. Organizations that are looking for a nice balance between affordability and performance, especially in VMware or Hyper-V virtual environments, can't go wrong with the Dell PowerVault MD3420. At Aventis Systems, we have the knowledge and experience needed to help you successfully integrate a Dell PowerVault MD3420 into your IT environment. Contact us today to determine if the PowerVault MD3420 is the right fit for your business.

To see how the Dell MD34xx storage arrays measure up to the Dell MD32xx series, watch our short webinar, "Storage Options for SMBs: Dell MD32xx vs. MD34xx Series", or browse the slides below.