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Modular Storage Product Comparison: Dell MD 1200 Series Vs. MD3200 Series

When it comes to your data storage, you want it to be simple, safe and available when you need it. Dell’s PowerVault MD Family is a line of data storage and backup products designed with the intention of simplifying the IT architecture. By leveraging its intelligent automation, Dell’s PowerVault line can help you reduce costs (and headaches) while at the same time freeing up your IT team to attend to other areas that need attention.

The modular nature of the PowerVault MD Family means that you can buy only as much as you need, as well as upgrade at any time to expand your capacity as your needs change and grow.

Here’s a look at the options and advantages of some of members of the PowerVault MD Family and what they can offer a small business.

A Closer Look at the MD1200 and MD3200 Series

Dell’s high-performance storage solutions are optimized for smaller-scale consolidation and virtualization projects. They include SAN and direct-attached storage arrays, as well as high-capacity expansion enclosures. The robust management software ensures unbeatable flexibility and scalability while keeping an eye on the bottom line.

While both series deliver exceptional performance, the MD3200 series is an SAN (storage area network) that uses 6GBs SAS technology to provide shared storage and virtualized environments on Dell’s PowerEdge servers. It includes the MD3200 and the MD3220. The high availability of storage and combination of outstanding flexibility and scalability makes it an excellent performer in mixed virtualized environments.

Additionally, the MD3200i series of iSCSI SAN arrays provides a solution for network storage consolidation and virtualization deployments for up to 32 physical servers. It is an excellent entry-level solution for a virtualized environment and is particularly well suited for deployments that need higher performance and increased density.

The MD1200 series, which includes the PowerVault MD1200 and MD1220, is a direct-attach expansion enclosure that can be connected either to an MD3200 array or to a PowerEdge server — achieving the capacity needed for high-performance, data-intensive applications. The MD1200 is a power player when it comes to capacity, with an expansion enclosure that is perfectly designed for applications that need extended storage capacity and to move large amounts of data.

The MD1200’s 2U array is designed to accommodate up to 24 2.5-inch SAS HDDs or SAS SSDs to provide up to 24 TB of storage.

The MD1220 also offers terrific performance. It is fast, flexible and reliable, with a 2U array able to accommodate up to 24 2.5-inch SAS HDDs or SAS SSDs, giving it the capacity to provide up to 12 TB of storage.

Finally, the MD1200 and MD1220 systems can be combined behind a PowerEdge RAID Controller.

Shared Characteristics

  • Modular flexibility. The ease of upgrading an existing system and improving your current storage infrastructure is one of the PowerVault MD Family’s strongest selling points. As your business needs change, so can your infrastructure — without the hassle of data migration or extended downtime. This modular flexibility creates a simple and cost-effective expansion for Dell PowerEdge servers and PowerVault MD storage arrays.
  • Improved storage management. With a robust suite of intuitive and intelligent software, storage management gets simplified with the PowerVault MD series. The MD3200 and MD3200i series use a Modular Disk Storage Manager that has an intuitive interface and task-based management structure to simplify such tasks as installation, configuration, management and diagnostics. The MD1200 and MD1220 systems, which are deployed behind a PowerEdge RAID Controller, use the Dell OpenManage storage management system. This provides a complete set of tools for proactively managing information while also controlling functions needed to optimize deployment, as well as managing such things as fault recovery and change management.

  • Compatibility. Both the PowerVault MD Family and PowerEdge servers use the same disc drives, meaning you won’t have to consider two different types of spare drives. Not only does this improve usability, but it helps make support and service much easier.

With the PowerVault MD Family, you can select the storage drive that matches your required amount of space requirements and application data performance. This means being able to get the right capacity at the lowest cost per gigabyte. And, if you need data protection, units can be equipped with Self-Encrypting Drives (SED) to provide additional security.

Comparative Chart: The Dell MD12000 Series Vs. the MD3200 Series

MD1200 MD1220 MD3200 MD3220
Drives 12 24 12 24
Max drives 96 192 96 96
Drive type 3.5- and 2.5-inch 6 Gbps SAS and
NL SAS HDDs, 2.5-inch 3 Gbps SSDs
2.5-inch 6 Gbps SAS and NL SAS
HDDs, 2.5-inch 3 Gbps SSDs
3.5- and 2.5-inch 6 Gbps SAS
and NL SAS HDDs,
2.5-inch 3 Gbps SSDs
2.5-inch 6 Gbps SAS
and NL SAS HDDs, 2.5-inch
3 Gbps SSDs
Max Cache Controller Dependent Controller Dependent 4GB (2GB per controller) 4GB (2GB per controller)
Form Factor 2U Rack 2U Rack 2U Rack 2U Rack
Host Interface Two 6Gbps SAS Two 6Gbps SAS Eight x 6Gbps SAS
(4 per controller)
Eight x 6Gbps SAS (
4 per controller)
Max Hosts Controller Dependent Controller Dependent 8 8
Management Software
OpenManage Storage Management OpenManage Storage Management MD Storage Manager MD Storage Manager

When you’re ready to explore the best data storage solutions for your small business, Dell’s PowerVault MD Family has options to suit all sizes and needs. To learn more about which one might be best for you, contact us today at 1-855-AVENTIS and let one of our experts answer your questions.

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