Dataram enters storage market
Known primarily as a memory supplier, Dataram this month entered the broader storage market with the introduction of the XcelaSAN appliance for accelerating, or optimizing, performance in Fibre Channel SAN environments. Each caching appliance includes 128GB of DRAM storage, multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory, and eight 4Gbps Fibre Channel ports. The devices, which can be combined for high availability, sit between Fibre Channel switches and disk arrays.
According to Jason Caulkins, Dataram's chief technologist, XcelaSAN offers an alternative to buying large amounts of disk drives or arrays for performance purposes and/or buying expensive high-end arrays.
XcelaSAN appliances function as caching devices for frequently-accessed and I/O-intensive data.
The company claims 450,000 I/Os per second (IOPS) on cache hits, or in real-world scenarios (cache and backend array hits) application performance increases of 5x to 30x vs. traditional SANs. Throughput is pegged at 3GBps.
In the case of a power outage, data is de-staged to flash, and automatically restored.
XcelaSAN appliances are priced at $65,000.
LSI ships 8Gbps FC RAID
LSI recently became one of the few vendors shipping RAID arrays with 8Gbps Fibre Channel host connections with the introduction of its Engenio 4900, which can also be configured with 1Gbps iSCSI host connections for SAN tiering.
Other vendors shipping disk arrays with 8Gbps Fibre Channel host connections include Infortrend, Rorke Data (a subsidiary of Bell Micro) and Xyratex.
Steve Gardner, LSI's director of outbound marketing, says that most end users will view 8Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity as "future-proof investment protection," but some sites may need the 2X speed improvement today, including users streaming large files and IT organizations that are consolidating servers and have large numbers of virtual machines (VMs). Other potential applications include OLTP, Web serving, messaging and high-speed backups, according to Gardner.
In addition, he notes that with 8Gbps Fibre Channel users can reduce the number of HBAs and SAN ports required in order to reduce overall costs.
The mid-range Engenio 4900 includes controller modules and FC460 drive enclosures. The 4900 controller module supports up to 16 Fibre Channel, SATA or self-encrypting drives (SEDs). The controller module also supports up to six additional 16-drive FC4600 enclosures for a total of 112 drives. LSI offers SafeStor Encryption Services for use with self-encrypting drives.
The disk arrays have four 8Gbps Fibre Channel host interfaces (with four additional 8Gbps Fibre Channel or 1Gbps iSCSI interfaces as options), 2GB or 4GB of cache, and four 4Gbps Fibre Channel drive channels.
LSI claims performance of more than 50,000 IOPS on random reads with 512-byte blocks, and throughput of 1.6GBps on sustained reads from disk.
Optional software functionality includes encryption, partitioning, snapshots, volume copy, and remote volume mirroring.
LSI also supports 8Gbps Fibre Channel host connections on its high-end Engenio 7900 disk arrays. Both the 4900 and 7900 support VMware components such as VSphere 4.0 Data Recovery and Fault Tolerance, VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), and Site Recovery Manager (SRM).
Promise RAID saves power
Promise Technology is now shipping the VessRAID storage systems, with energy efficient drive spin-down technology aimed at meeting the long-term storage needs of SMBs.
The VessRAID has front-end iSCSI connectivity with support for SAS and/or SATA drives on the back-end. The 16-bay model can scale up to a 60-bay, 160TB configuration via expansion shelves.
The VessRAID line features Promise's GreenRAID power-scheduling technology, which allows the systems to power-on from standby mode to run user-scheduled tasks such as backups and archives. The system then goes into standby mode until the next scheduled task.
Ray Bahar, Promise Technology's vice president, Americas, says the VessRAID green features make the system a fit for disk-to-disk backup or archiving applications.
The VessRAID series supports Windows and Linux and is certified with VMware's vSphere 4.0.
Pricing starts at $2,099 for an unpopulated eight-bay system and ranges to $3,099 for a 16-bay configuration. According to Bahar, a fully populated 16-bay subsystem with enterprise-class 7,200rpm 2TB HDDs costs approximately $0.26 per gigabyte.
Adaptec enables SSD + HDD RAID
Adaptec last month introduced software for its RAID controllers that will enable OEMs and integrators to combine the controllers and software with solid-state disk (SSD) drives and traditional hard disk drives in what the company refers to as High-Performance Hybrid Arrays (HPHAs).
Adaptec delivers the solution in the MaxIQ SSD Cache Performance Kit, which is priced at $1,295 and includes a customized 32GB SATA-based SSD from Intel (the X25-E Extreme), which integrators can configure as a cache, and Adaptec's caching software for SSD management. Integrators can combine the kit with SATA or SAS drives and Adaptec's Series 5Z/5/2 Unified Serial RAID controllers. Integrators can configure the HPHAs with up to four SSDs, which are based on single-level cell (SLC) flash technology.
Adaptec claims that HPHAs based on its software and Intel's SSDs can increase performance up to 5X compared to SAS-only disk arrays (based on tests with random read-only workloads and 4KB blocks). HPHAs can be configured with any combination of SATA, SAS and SSD drives, and are intended primarily for read-intensive applications such as Web servers, file servers and databases.
Adaptec's MaxIQ SSD Caching Software includes algorithms that manage data placement based on access patterns by identifying frequently read ("hot") data blocks and optimizing subsequent reads by moving the hot data to a low-latency SSD cache tier that functions as a read cache pool. No modifications are required at the controller, disk array, application or operating system levels.
Spectra upgrades dedupe appliances
Spectra Logic recently enhanced its nTier line of disk-based deduplication appliances, as well as its BlueScale tape management software.
The company's data deduplication technology is based on FalconStor Software's deduplication engine, coupled with management software from Spectra.
New features in the nTier line of appliances include policy-based remote site replication and automated migration of replicated data to tape under a single policy. This eliminates the manual steps of setting different policies for replication and migration to tape. Both the disk and tape elements can be managed by BlueScale software.
The company also improved scalability by enabling users to start with 10TB of capacity and add capacity in 10TB increments, eliminating the need for box swaps. The nTier appliances are based on a blade architecture, with 10TB per blade on 1TB SATA drives. Users can scale the appliances up to 60TB.
Base pricing for an nTier500 v80 deduplication appliance starts at $23,500.
On the tape side, in conjunction with BlueScale 10.6 enhancements, Spectra Logic added some features designed to take tape libraries closer to the reliability standards set by RAID arrays. For example, the company added support for global spare tape drives with remote failover – similar to "hot spare" drives in RAID arrays. The spare drive can be shared across multiple virtual library partitions.
Spectra also introduced Hardware Lifecycle Management (HLM), which automatically identifies hardware problems in tape libraries. In addition to tape drives, this encompasses serviceable components such as robotics, enter/exit ports, and power supplies.
Aptare upgrades SRM software
Storage resource management (SRM) software maker Aptare has enhanced its StorageConsole suite to bridge the performance and capacity reporting gap between physical and virtual server and storage environments.
StorageConsole Virtualization Manager 7.1 monitors and maintains performance metrics for VMware ESX servers, their corresponding virtual machines (VMs) and connected storage resources.
According to Aptare's CEO, Rick Clark, the data gathered by StorageConsole can be used to forecast and avoid performance bottlenecks. Storage I/O counts and latencies can identify over- and under-subscribed ESX servers as well as "hot" VMs that are consuming I/O resources.
"Our view goes beyond the eyes of vCenter to focus on storage performance and capacity reporting, says Clark.
The StorageConsole 7.1 suite now includes support for VMware vSphere 4.0 and ESX 4.0 via the StorageConsole Virtualization Manager software.
In addition, StorageConsole Backup Manager now supports Veritas NetBackup storage lifecycle policies, NetBackup synthetic backups, and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) 6.1.
Certeon debuts DR appliances
Certeon has tuned its software engine to speed backups over WANs with a new virtual appliance called aCelera Sync. The appliance software is symmetrically deployed on standard servers at the data center, in remote offices, and at mirrored sites connected over a WAN.
The software uses a combination of techniques to accelerate applications and data across the WAN, including protocol optimization, compression, QoS, and history-based differencing, which is essentially data deduplication for the data stream.
The company claims aCelera Sync can shrink backup windows by up to 97% and can reduce network bandwidth consumption by the same amount.
The appliance accelerates remote backup for a variety of backup and replication products, including products from CommVault, Double-Take, EMC, EqualLogic, FalconStor, Network Appliance, and Symantec.
Certeon prices aCelera Sync software based on link speed. The starting price for the software is $4,000.
Dot Hill lowers RAID costs
Dot Hill Systems has introduced software in what it hopes to be a new category of RAID, dubbed Virtual RAID Adapter (VRA). The software-only RAID technology promises to decrease the cost of adding RAID functionality to low-end and mid-range servers by providing an alternative to dedicated RAID-on-chip accelerators and hardware-based controllers.
RAIDcore VRA software is targeted at Windows/Linux server OEMs and integrators, leverages multi-core system processors and system memory, and uses the SATA I/O ports on Intel-compatible server motherboards or the I/O ports on SAS/SATA controllers. A "universal" RAID driver and management interface supports controllers from multiple vendors. The software supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and 50, and is implemented in the operating system driver layers.
Andy Mills, Dot Hill's vice president of marketing and business development, claims that the performance of RAIDCore VRA coupled with multi-core host CPUs rivals the performance of hardware-based RAID controllers.
And RAIDCore VRA offers functionality not available with some other software-only RAID solutions, such as boot drive protection and fast recovery from system power loss, according to Mills.
Other functions, typically available only on hardware-based RAID controllers, include online RAID-level migration and capacity expansion, and background "scrubbing" and consistency checking.
InMage upgrades DR software
The 5.1 release of InMage Systems' Scout disaster recovery (DR) software includes a number of features designed primarily for large end-user sites (hundreds or thousands of servers), as well as managed service providers (MSPs) and cloud services providers.
For example, InMage added multi-tenancy enhancements in the new RX Enterprise Dashboard to provide centralized management and reporting in large environments that may span geographic locations, and additional features such as policy definitions and policy enforcements.
InMage also increased scalability via an architectural change that allows administrators to separate the software's I/O processing and control engines in order to increase performance in large environments. The two engines can be deployed on different hardware platforms. Previously, both engines ran on the same server.
Scout 5.1 also adds remote management via "push" installation and maintenance, a feature that may be particularly appealing to MSPs because they don't have to send personnel to customer sites, according to Eric Burgener, InMage's senior vice president of marketing.
In addition, Scout now supports 64-bit Sun Solaris on x86 or SPARC servers (in addition to existing support for Windows and Linux.).
The Scout local/remote DR software includes a number of applications, including window-less backup, automated application failover/failback recovery, continuous data protection (CDP) for granular recovery, heterogeneous asynchronous replication, and WAN optimization.