Fully Featured Entry-Level Storage Array

Not that long ago "entry-level" in the storage market meant slow disks, basic features and clunky user interfaces. But the year is 2019, Elon Musk has sent an electric car into space, and you can get 1TB of storage onto an SD card the size of your fingernail.

Dell have announced a new player in the entry-level storage space that affectively replaces the MD3 range and also treads on the toes of its cousin the SCv3020. It's called the ME4 and at present is available in three different sizes. The ME4012 and ME4024 which take 12 3.5" and 24 2.5" drives respectively. They're available with single or dual controllers, are based on Dell's PowerEdge platform and come with a snazzy new bezel. Then there are the ME4084 which is 5U and accommodates a whopping 84 3.5" drives which are also available as JBOD.

Optional expansion enclosures are available, and they fit the same mould as the base arrays. 2U models the ME412 and ME424 with, you guessed it, 12 3.5" and 24 2.5" drives respectively. And the ME484, 5U, 84 Drives. You can only scale in the same form factor so you can attach the ME412 and ME424 to either the M4012 and ME4024 but the M484 will only attach to the ME4084. The maximum you can scale to is 336 drives or 4PB, did I mention this was entry-level?

All arrays and enclosures support a mix of SSD, 15k, 10k and 7.2k drives including self-encrypting drives so you can mix and match as you requirements require, operating in Full Flash, Hybrid or HDD only.

Dell say the ME4 is optimized to run a variety of mixed workload applications. Physical and virtual, and I can see why. This is a fully-featured solution with concurrent support for iSCSI SAS and Fibre Channel. Utilizing a 12G SAS backend for improved performance and Distributed RAID (ADAPT) delivers faster rebuild times.

Out of the box, it comes with all-inclusive licensing which includes the following

  •  IP & FC Remote Replication, 

  • Volume Copy/Clones, 

  • Thin Provisioning, 

  • Snapshots, 

  • Read caching, 

  • 3 Level Tiering, 

  • Encryption (SEDs). 

  • Virtualisation Integration and simple management through a HTML5 GUI that Dell say you can use to get your ME4 configured in under 15 minutes.


For customers looking for enterprise storage features in an easy to use and simple to deploy package, this is a great fit. It would work well supporting a small vSphere or Hyper-V environment or for a cost-effective backend to a CCTV system.

However, it's not the solution for all, if you have requirements for more power and features such as file storage and inline compression its worth looking at other offerings from Dell such as Unity or SC. 

If you'd like to learn more about the ME4 or any of the storage offerings from Dell get in touch with an expert at ComputerWorld today.