Spinnaker takes on EMC, NetApp

Posted on October 08, 2002

By Lisa Coleman

Spinnaker Networks, a Pittsburgh-based start-up, is looking to take on EMC and Network Appliance with its first network-attached storage (NAS) product, SpinServer 3300, which leverages a distributed file system for scaling up to 512 servers.

"The idea of using a distributed file system for NAS scaling has been maturing for some time, and it will be interesting to see how end users react to it," says Randy Kerns, a partner and analyst with the Evaluator Group consulting and research firm.

Spinnaker is trying to solve the problems of NAS scalability and manageability. The SpinServer 3300 supports single-server scaling up to 22TB; however, when Spinnaker's SpinCluster software is added, a maximum of 512 SpinServers can be clustered for capacities exceeding 11 petabytes.

A two-stage distributed file system, SpinFS, allows users to create one or more global file systems that can span hundreds of geographically dispersed SpinServers connected via a LAN, MAN, or WAN. The system enables all the servers to be managed as a single resource from a single management console.

SpinFS allows configurations to be scaled non-disruptively. For example, a single file system can be scaled across an entire SpinCluster--connected over switched Gigabit Ethernet--without requiring changes to user shares, mount points, or namespaces.

SpinServer supports concurrent file sharing between Unix, Linux, and Windows clients using the NFS and CIFS network protocols. SpinServer is a 4U chassis with dual Intel processors and includes redundant hot-swappable power supplies and fans, SCSI drives, and four internal FC-AL host bus adapters. Pricing starts at $100,000.

Next year, Spinnaker plans to add connectivity to other vendors' SANs (for "NAS-SAN convergence"), as well as support for protocols such as the Direct Access File System (DAFS), iSCSI, and block-level protocols.