SGI preps file-based active archive

Posted on March 09, 2011

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By Dave Simpson

SGI announced an archiving platform today that scales up to 1.4PB and provides a tiered storage architecture with automated, policy-based data movement between tiers. Shipments are slated for May.

The ArcFiniti active archiving system’s tiered storage consists of a primary cache tier and an archive tier. The cache layer capacity ranges from 20TB to 60TB on 1TB, 7,200rpm SAS drives in a RAID-6 configuration.

The archive tier ranges from 156TB to 1.4PB on 3TB 7,200rpm SAS drives in a RAID-5 configuration. Total usable capacity ranges from 176TB to 1.46PB. (The use of 3TB drives contributes to a high density of 2,088TB of raw capacity per cabinet.)

SGI’s Data Migration Facility (DMF) software handles data migration/movement between the tiers. The ArcFiniti archive platform also leverages SGI’s CXFS shared file system.

The file-based ArcFiniti archiving system is based on technology from Copan Systems, which SGI acquired about a year ago. The version shipping in May will support NFS, and a version for CIFS is due in the July or August timeframe, according to Jim Miller, SGI’s product manager for ArcFiniti.

ArcFiniti’s “power-managed” archive tier uses Copan’s Massive Array of Idle Disks (MAID) technology, which powers down drives that are not in use.

Because of the energy-saving MAID technology, a fully-configured ArcFiniti in operational mode consumes only 7,071 watts and 24,127 BTUs. That translates into 5 watts per TB and 17.2 BTUs per TB.

Another technology (dubbed ‘disk aerobics’ in the Copan days) provides drive monitoring to predict potential drive failures and move data from those drives to spare drives. The key benefit is a reduction in lengthy RAID rebuilds.

Five configurations of the ArcFiniti platform are available. The “low-end” model  A156 includes 176TB of usable capacity (20TB in the cache tier and 156TB in the archive tier), three GbE ports and two 10GbE ports. The A156 is priced at $191,842.

The high-end A1404 includes total usable capacity of 1.46PB (60TB in the cache tier and 1.4PB in the archive tier), nine GbE ports and six 10GbE ports. The A1404 is priced at $1,058,921.


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