Product highlights from NAB

Posted on April 24, 2009

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By the InfoStor staff

-- Among the 1,500+ exhibitors at this week's National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas, a number of storage vendors introduced or showcased products optimized for the entertainment industry. Here's a quick rundown.

Aberdeen demonstrated a number of storage systems at the show, including the XDAS-HD direct-attached storage (DAS) array. The company claims performance of up to 1,700MBps on sequential reads with dual SAS controllers (from Atto), enabling support for as many as 10 simultaneous HD video streams, without frame skips, and streaming 4K applications. The RAID arrays can be configured with 3.5-inch, 15,000rpm SAS drives and/or SATA drives in 2U 12-bay or 3U 16-bay enclosures with capacities up to 16TB with SATA drives. Other features include two external SAS interfaces and support for all RAID levels (including RAID 6).

Advanced Industrial Computer (AIC) ran a number of demos, including a dual/quad-core Xeon-based Gemini 5500 server with 72 user-definable PCI Express lanes and DDR technology connected to AIC's 4U, 48-bay XJ-SA24-448 JBOD disk array in a video environment The company also ran demos with its G-series SAS servers connected to AIC's SAS RAID, SAS JBOD and external PCIe-based storage subsystems. AIC also showcased the IP 100 series of hybrid NAS/iSCSI systems, with support for up to 10 SATA drives, RAID 0/1/5/6, four Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and two eSATA expansion connections.

Arena Maxtronic introduced the ExaRAID HD disk array and the PCIe-based ExaSAN configuration for broadcasting and post-production applications. In a configuration with Gen1 and Gen2 switches connected to a pair of 16-bay ExaRAID HD arrays and four MacPro workstations, the company demonstrated playback of eight simultaneous streams of uncompressed 1080p 10-bit video footage. Arena Maxtronic claims performance of up to 1,400MBps on the ExaRAID HD array, which is available in 3U 16-bay or 4U 24-bay enclosures.

Atto Technology showed up in a number of booths, but at its own exhibit the company showcased its FastStream SC 8500 RAID Storage Controller with 8Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity to SAS/SATA disk arrays; the 8Gbps Celerity host bus adapters (HBAs); and 6Gbps ExpressSAS SAS/SATA adapters. Atto claims performance of up to 1,400MBps on the FastStream controller, which sits between workstations and storage devices, and support for up to five streams of 10-bit uncompressed HD video. The company claims performance of 3,200MBps for its Celerity line of Fibre Channel HBAs.

Enhance Technology highlighted a variety of RAID arrays, including the UltraStor RS16 FS (64-bit hardware, dual 4Gbps Fibre Channel connections, and SAS expansion ports); UltraStor RS16 JS (3U, 16-bay SAS JBOD with two SAS host channels and one SAS expansion port); and the EnhanceRAID TS2060 series of 2U, six-bay RAID arrays. Enhance also demonstrated ‘green' technologies such as spin-down disks and energy-efficient power supplies.

JMR introduced the FibreStream RAID array, with 1,300MBps playback speeds. The 3U array supports all RAID levels, SAS/SATA drives, and up to 24TB of capacity with 1.5TB SATA drives, and two or four 4Gbps Fibre Channel connections. Demonstrations clocked read speeds of up to 1,345MBps and write speeds of up to 814MBps. JMR also showcased its PCIe-based BlueStor and PeSAN systems.

Rorke Data, a subsidiary of Bell Microproducts, announced the Galaxy Aurora LS (LiteSpeed) line of 8Gbps Fibre Channel RAID arrays. The systems include four Fibre Channel host connections. Rorke claims performance of more than 1,000MBps and pricing of less than $0.70 per GB. The 12-bay arrays can be configured as direct-attached or SAN-attached storage, with up to 15TB of capacity and RAID-6 protection.

SAN Solutions demonstrated its Partial File Restore Engine (PFRE), which uses centrally stored metadata to simplify the identification and extraction of specific footage from archives. Features include partial file restore (PFR), media transformation, data moving and migration across archive storage devices.

Sonnet Technology announced the 1U, four-drive Fusion R400P RAID array at NAB, which includes SATA drives and an eSATA interface with a port multiplier, up to 6TB of capacity, and support for RAID 0 and 1 (and JBOD). Pricing ranges from $599 for a unit without drives to $1,875 for a 6TB version. Sonnet also introduced the 16-drive RX1600RAID system, claiming performance of up to 1,000MBps for reads and 750MBps for writes in a RAID-5 configuration. The arrays include integrated SAS expanders, and are priced from $10,895 for a 16TB configuration to $11,995 for a 24TB version.

A number of vendors announced partnerships at NAB. For example, Copan Systems announced a deal with Software Generation Limited (SGL) that combines Copan's Persistent Data Storage Platform with SGL's FlashNet software. FlashNet provides a platform for accessing archived digital broadcast content.

BlueArc and Ocarina Networks announced a deal whereby BlueArc will provide Ocarina's content-aware data reduction (compression and data de-duplication) technology with BlueArc's Titan storage systems.

Isilon and da Vinci Systems, which provides color enhancement and image restoration products, teamed up on an integrated solution that combines Isilon's IQ series of NAS systems with da Vinci's 2K digital intermediate (DI) color enhancement platform.

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