By Dave Simpson
—Overland Storage today announced shipments of the first RAID arrays in its Ultamus product family that support the emerging Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) disk interface. However, although SAS arrays typically support both SAS and Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives, the Ultamus 1200 and 5200 are not yet qualified for SAS drives. Support for SAS drives is expected in the first quarter of 2007, according to Michael Kerman, vice president and chief strategy officer at Overland.
For now, the Ultamus RAID 1200 array can be configured with up to 12 SATA drives for 6TB of capacity (using 500GB SATA drives) in a 2U enclosure, and the Ultamus RAID 5200 array can be configured with up to 52 SATA drives, or 26TB of capacity in a 4U form factor.
The new RAID arrays also mark the first time that Overland has supported RAID 6 (dual-parity RAID), which protects against the simultaneous failure of two disk drives. (For more information on RAID 6, see SATA spurs RAID-6 activity.)
There has been increased emphasis on RAID 6 recently due to the use of high-capacity (500GB and 750GB) SATA disk drives. Yesterday, for example, AMCC announced SATA-II RAID controllers that support RAID 6 (see AMCC overcomes the RAID-6 penalty).
There are two primary reasons why users are interested in using RAID 6. "More-experienced users might want RAID 6 because of the long rebuild times required for high-capacity SATA drives," says Overland's Kerman, "while less-experienced users might want RAID 6 because of the perceived reliability issues with SATA drives."
Overland's new Ultamus RAID subsystems also include a feature called DriveAlive, which the company claims can significantly speed up drive rebuild times.
Both of the SAS arrays come with four 4Gbps Fibre Channel host connections, as well as integrated snapshots for point-in-time backup/restore. The high-end Ultamus RAID 5200 model features a blade-based design.
The Ultamus RAID 1200 and 5200 are priced from $15,000 and $36,000, respectively.