Pillar adds SSDs to disk arrays

Posted on April 01, 2009

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BY KEVIN KOMIEGA

Pillar Data Systems has announced a new set of solid-state disk (SSD) "Bricks" (Pillar's nomenclature for drive enclosures) for its Axiom arrays. They include 12 64GB Intel X25-E Extreme SATA SSDs for 768GB of raw capacity, with one drive functioning as a hot spare. Pillar's Axiom 500, 600 and 600MC systems can support up to four SSD Bricks per controller, as well as intermixed SATA and SSD drive configurations.

Pillar's Axiom arrays are comprised of "Slammers" and "Bricks," which are the systems' respective controllers and capacity building blocks. The Slammer controllers feature a dual-processor architecture, automatic fail-over, redundant power supplies, and battery-backed cache. Each Slammer controls a given set of SATA, Fibre Channel or SSD storage Bricks.

"Most people think SSDs are too pricey, but the other way of looking at it is as a consolidation point," says Bob Maness, Pillar's vice president of marketing. "You can actually get rid of certain technologies in favor of SSDs." For example, a single SSD Brick can replace the performance of about five Fibre Channel Bricks in the Axiom system, resulting in roughly five times the performance with an 85% reduction in power consumption, according to Maness.

Another obstacle to mass adoption of SSD drives has been manual provisioning and management, but Maness says Pillar's Quality of Service (QoS) technology automates that process. The Axiom system allows an administrator to prioritize data by defining an application type and its associated value through a drop-down menu. The system then automatically tunes itself to deliver differentiated storage service levels based on the business priority of each application—including determining whether to write data to SSDs, Fibre Channel, or SATA drives.

Pillar says its SSD Bricks will be available in about two months.


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