Nexsan ships AutoMAID disk array

Posted on July 21, 2008

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By Kevin Komiega

-- Nexsan Technologies today introduced the DATABeast, a storage system capable of scaling to 4PB of capacity and designed to save power with AutoMAID (Automatic Massive Array of Idle Disks) technology.

The DATABeast stores up 336TB per 42U enclosure and can be configured with SAS and/or SATA drives. The system includes 4GBps Fibre Channel and NAS interfaces for simultaneous block and file access. It also includes tools for thin provisioning, storage pooling, tiering, virtualization, mirroring, snapshots, and replication.

AutoMAID technology reduces energy use without forcing users to choose between power savings and application performance.

Bob Woolery, Nexsan's senior vice president of marketing, says the common on/off approach to MAID can compromise performance, while Nexsan's techniques function more like a dimmer switch.

"While traditional MAID technology is energy-efficient, it can take several minutes to bring those systems online," says Woolery. "Our approach allows users to select the level of energy savings they want without affecting performance."

AutoMAID gives users the option of choosing among three different levels of energy savings, each with its own performance metrics. The first level offers 20% power savings with response times of less than 10 seconds, and once the first file is accessed the disks perform at full speed. For level two, AutoMAID slows down the drives to about 4,000rpm for energy savings of up to 40% and response times of 15 seconds or less. The third level puts drives into what Woolery calls a "light sleep," yielding up to 60% energy savings. Once the drive comes out of its level-three nap, the first I/O transaction takes 30 seconds or less. 

Nexsan categorizes the DATABeast as having Tier-1 features and scalability at Tier-2 pricing. Woolery claims that competing systems with similar management, data protection and scalability features can run from $5,000 to $10,000 per terabyte, while the DATABeast ranges from $1,800 to $2,700 per terabyte, depending on configuration. An approximate starting price for the system is around $200,000, according to Woolery.

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