By Dave Simpson
-- Compellent augmented its support for NAS file services today with the introduction of zNAS, which provides NAS functionality via the open-source ZFS file system.
Compellent has since 2007 supported NAS in its unified (SAN+NAS) Storage Center SANs via Microsoft's Windows Storage Server software, but the addition of the 128-bit ZFS-based zNAS will give Unix/NFS users higher performance, scalability, and integration with NFS, according to Bruce Kornfeld, Compellent's vice president of marketing.
zNAS can be integrated into Compellent's Storage Center SAN array (without downtime), and could possibly run alongside the Windows Storage Server NAS software (although both NAS implementations support NFS and CIFS).
"zNAS is a solution in response to the demands of Compellent's customer base for more robust NAS," says Noemi Greyzdorf, a research manager at IDC. "It's a scale-up solution with a lot of interesting functionality that now includes the option for deduplication and storage tiering at the file system level." The automatic, block-level storage tiering comes via Compellent's existing Fluid Data architecture, which also includes thin provisioning and thin replication.
For the ZFS implementation, and integration with Storage Center, Compellent partnered with Nexenta. zNAS is based on the 3.0 release of the NexentaStor software (see "Nexenta debuts ZFS-based in-line deduplication").
zNAS software runs on a 1U hardware appliance equipped with dual Intel Xeon quad-core processors, up to 48GB of memory, and 8Gbps Fibre Channel back-end connectivity. The appliances are diskless, because zNAS boots off of Storage Center and relies on that platform's pooled storage, which can consist of Fibre Channel, SAS, SATA and/or solid-state disk (SSD) drives.
"Essentially, it's block-based storage for files," says Kornfeld.
On the front end, zNAS appliances include Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, although 10GbE is due "in the near future," according to Kornfeld.
Compellent licenses zNAS based on the number of disk drives.
Pricing for a unified storage configuration with two clustered zNAS nodes, two clustered SAN controllers, 8.7TB of SAS capacity and Storage Center software starts at about $84,000, excluding services and maintenance. Adding two zNAS nodes to an existing Storage Center SAN costs about $36,000.
Compellent will demonstrate zNAS at its upcoming C-Drive 2010 channel partner and customer conference, May 2—6. Shipments are expected by the end of June.