Dell FX2 Part 3: Storage

The primary storage component in the FX2 architecture is the FD332 storage block. This provides compute blocks access to dense and highly scalable direct attached storage with up to 48 spindles and 91.2 TB raw capacity in 2U. Each FD332 supports up to 16 small form factor SSD/HDD drives with support for both SAS and SATA.

The FD332 is a half width block and the drives are located in a slide out disk sled. The sled contains 8 side loading drives on each side with the ability to release a single drive. The drives are also hot pluggable.

The storage sled uses a PERC 9 and this is exactly the same specification as found on the PowerEdge PERC 9 H730p. There are options for both single and dual ROC (RAID on chip) controllers with each one having 2GB cache available.  The graphic below lists some of the drive options available today with the sled. The PERC 9 controller can run in either HBA mode or RAID mode.

7.2k NL SAS 6GB500GB. 1TB15K SAS 6GB300GB, 600GB
7.2k NL SAS 6GB Self-Encrypting1TBSSD SATA Mix use 6GB MLC120GB, 200GB
7.2k SAS 6GB1TBSSD SAS read intensice 6GB MLC1.92TB
7.2k SATA 3GB250GBSSD SAS read intensive 12GB MLC800GB, 1.6TB
7.2k SATA 6GB500GBSSD SAS write intensive 12GB200GB, 400GB, 800GB
10k SAS 6GB300GB, 600GB, 1.2TBSSD SAS mix use 12GB MLC200GB, 400GB, 800GB, 1.6TB
10k SAS 6GB Self-Encrypting1.2TB

Jumping over to the CMC we can see our demo unit has two FD332 sleds installed and next we’ll look at how the drives are mapped to each compute block.

SLOT-03 and SLOT-04 both contain FD332 sleds and looking at the “Storage Array Status” view shows us two compute nodes are mapped to each storage sled. As dual PERC controllers are used each sled is split into two lots of 8 drives.

Disks 0-7 are mapped to esx01a using controller 1 and disks 8-15 are mapped to esx01b using controller 2.


The configuration of the drives is completed during the initial setup of the FX2 and to change this involves shutting down the affected sleds. There are three storage modes you can configure

1.       Split Dual Host – this is the option used above. The sled is split between two compute blocks.

2.       Split Single Host – this presents two groups of disks to a single compute block.

3.       Joined – this presents all disks as one group to a single compute.

 Once the drives have been configured in the chassis they appear to the compute block as direct attached storage. From here they are configured in the usual way using the iDRAC or OME.

On each block I have created a single RAID 5 virtual disk using 6 drives.

For those that are wondering about VSAN compatibility the FD332 is fully supported and on the HCL for VMware VSAN.

The FD332 provides a good choice when it comes to direct attached storage especially for VSAN configurations. I’d also be interested to see how the FX2 will fit in with the clustering improvements coming with next version of Hyper-V.

The next part in this series will look at the networking options available with the FX2. 

Read the other articles in the series:

Part 1: Introductions and Use Cases

Part 2: Compute

Part 4: Networking

Part 5: Software