As part of continuing Dell APEX portfolio momentum, we are announcing that Dell PowerFlex is now available in the AWS Marketplace. This offer delivers customers the mission critical performance, scale, resilience, and management of PowerFlex with the ability to use existing cloud credits. Dell PowerFlex is the first of Dell’s industry-leading storage software offerings to be made available in the public cloud via Project Alpine and compliments our broad AWS data protection portfolio.

Most IT environments today include a mix of public and private clouds. APEX, Dell’s portfolio of as-a-Service and cloud solutions, helps reduce multicloud complexity through simplified cloud experiences that provide control over customers’ applications and data. This includes our storage software offerings in public clouds, which deliver a consistent operational experience across environments.

Making Project Alpine Real

First announced back in January, Project Alpine is bringing our file, block, and object storage software to all major public clouds to deliver data mobility and consistent operations across cloud and on-premises locations.

In May, at Dell Technologies World, we showed our customers how they can take advantage of our software innovations, advanced data services and capabilities from our storage platforms in the public cloud. We showed use cases such as Cloud bursting, Disaster Recovery, Test and development, Data and container mobility, and cloud-based analytics.

The first storage array, we put in the cloud, was PowerScale (Scale-Out file), which you can read all about it, here and here

And now we’re making it real with Dell PowerFlex in the AWS Marketplace.

Why PowerFlex and AWS?

For our existing customers, the value proposition is simple – all of the power of PowerFlex that customers love for their on-premises environments, from high performance to massive scalability, is now available in AWS. Use cases include databases, applications, test/dev, and backup, disaster recovery and consolidation of many workloads onto one high performance platform.

Better Together with AWS

Where PowerFlex really shines is its scale and durability when combined with AWS services. Our ability to add linear scale-out performance with our unique scale-out capabilities, increased resilience with a unique multi-AZ implementation.

Testing on AWS demonstrates the unique ability of PowerFlex to deliver linear scale with sub-ms latency scaling from 4 to 128 instances (scalable well beyond 128 instances).

Unique Multi-AZ Durability – No other cloud Block solution has such an option. Mapping the PowerFlex fault sets across the availability zones enables high resilience and also resolves the maximum limit of 7 placement groups.

The deployment wizard allows the customer to choose to spread its PowerFlex deployment across multiple AZs in a single Region. While this configuration contains the same components as as a single AZ deployment, there are a few noticeable differences.

For a multiple AZ deployment, fault sets are used to ensure that in the rare occurrence of a complete AZ failure, there is no storage data loss. Note that there is a single fault set assigned per AZ.

The placement of Meta Data Mananger (MDMs) has also been spread around to minimize the chance of a complete management stack failure.

The absolute smallest number of Storage Data Server (SDS) Instances in a multi-AZ deployment is 9. Any number over this will be in multiples of 3, as to maintain equal numbers of SDS Instances in each Fault Set. This provides balanced capacity and performance between the SDSs as capacity is expanded. For further information regarding Fault Sets, see the PowerFlex Documentation.

Choice of ease or performance with GBS or EC2 Instance Store native NVMe for higher performance workloads on a small number of instances.

PowerFlex with EBS Volumes vs. EC2 Instance Store

EBS volumes are persistent storage so as long as you pay for the service, the data will reman when the instances are shut down.

EC2 Instance Store leverages NVMe SSD drives that are local to the Instance. Once you shut down the instances, the data may be lost because the instance can come up from any other physical server. So it is best to leverage backup solutions like Data Domain Virtual Edition to make sure the data is retained.

To get the same level of performance from EBS as we can from EC2 Instance Store local NVMe drives, you have to leverage a lot more instances and may end up having to pay a lot more to achieve the same perfomormance.

And our promise to keep the experience is made clear with the same interface and same toolset available to our customers running PowerFlex on-premises.

Looking for the full details on how it’s deployed? We have created a video to step you through the details. of how to deploy PowerFlex, in a multi AZ in AWS, below :

We’re already working with some very large customers on their implementations with PowerFlex in AWS and look forward to bringing more of our world class storage software to many more public cloud locations – so stay tuned!

For those attending the AWS Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas (Nov 28 – Dec 2nd), be sure to drop by the Dell Technologies Expo booth (#2745) located in The Venetian. to learn more about how this new deployment option can deliver value to mission critical workloads on AWS.

More details on the deployment of PowerFlex on AWS

Prerequisites for PowerFlex on AWS Deployment Wizard usage to deploy PowerFlex

  • AWS Account login
    • Access Key ID
    • Secret Access Key
    • Token (if required)
  • And permissions to provision AWS infrastructure (VPC, security groups, etc)

Once the deployment wizard is launched, it provides the options of deployment of PowerFlex on AWS and several post deployment options to expand the cluster (or deletion of cluster), manage the cluster and update for AWS credentials.

Once the Access ID and Secret Access Key credentials have been input and validated there are only four additional fields that need to be entered to start the deployment of the PowerFlex on AWS. Those inputs are:

1) Seclecting the AWS region in which you want the deployment to be made.

2) Select from the drop down list of deployment options that include the type of storage (EBS or EC2 Instance Store) and either single AZ or Multi AZ.

3) Enter a name for the deployment and

4) Enter the amount of block based storage capacity desired. In short, it is quick and simple to deploy PowerFlex on AWS.

The regions available currently in the deployment wizard are :

  • N. Virginia (us-east-1)
  • Ohio (us-east-2)
  • N. California (us-west-1)
  • Oregon (us-west-2)

Next the wizard displays the configuration to be deployed. If it doesn’t look correct, can step backwards to remedy.

And once “Deploy Now” is clicked, work immediately begins in AWS.

Usable Storage

  • User definable
  • Number of nodes based on instance
  • Minimum node count = 3
  • Usable capacity calculated based on # of Instances + spare percentage
Instance Type Minimum Usable Capacity per Deployment Minimum node count
i3en.12xlarge 28TB 3
i3en.metal 56TB 3
c5n.9xlarge 5TB (EBS-backed) 3

Once the deployment is completed there will be a complete list of everything and the location of what was deployed shown. This location is key if you were deploying a cluster in a multi AZ configuration.

And comparing this list of deployed elements in the AWS console against the PowerFlex Element Manager is easily accomplished due to the simple names assigned to these elements.

Shown below is what the deployment looks like in the PowerFlex element manager.

Note that the SDS names correspond with the AWS Instance names as listed in the AWS console window.

You can have an interactive walk-through, by clicking the screenshot below

Some additional coverage:

Dell puts PowerFlex into AWS – Blocks and Files

Dell Brings PowerFlex Hybrid, Multi-Cloud Storage to AWS – (

Dell PowerFlex in AWS Marketplace Available Now –

Dell PowerFlex comes to AWS for hybrid cloud storage (

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