Dot Hill Tackles Real-Time Tiering for Midrange SANs

Posted on August 22, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez

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Dot Hill Systems Wednesday announced new storage systems and software aimed at assisting organizations in keeping up with dynamic workloads with automated tiering. Although this is hardly a new concept in storage management, the company is bringing a real-time data movement twist down to the midrange market.

Automated tiering, while growing in popularity, is failing to keep up with today's dynamic workloads, according to Dot Hill's senior director of product marketing, Jim Jonez.

With many data tiering solutions, "data movement happens in a batch process and is simply ineffective," stated Jonez. In the time that it takes most storage systems to analyze data usage patterns and move the affected data, he explained, unpredictable workloads -- virtualization being a prime example -- are continually working against them.

Essentially, by the time frequently accessed data is placed on an optimal tier, an organization's computational priorities may have already moved past it.

The Longmont, Colo.-based storage company is tackling that dilemma with new AssuredSAN Pro 5000 arrays and RealStor software. Available in October, AssuredSAN Pro 5000 arrays and expansion units will ship in a variety of configurations, including 8 Gb Fibre Channel (FC) or 10 Gb iSCSI controllers and a mix of SSD and SAS drives.

The 2U/4U system scales up to 240 drives and 224 TB of useable capacity. Performance-wise, it delivers 100,000 read IOPS and 5200 MBps read and 3000 MBps write rates.

But what really makes the system tick, said Jonez, is RealStor, software that minimizes IT admin intervention. With RealStor, he explained, "we eliminated policy settings, eliminated the need to establish low-level RAID sets and eliminated provisioning disk drives."

The software's RealTier technology continually monitors the storage environment and moves hot data to SSDs in real time. The RealPool feature automates the RAID setup process while RealQuick provides for fast RAID rebuilds.

RealThin provides thin provisioning for pay-as-you-grow storage expansion. RealSolid allows individual LUNs to be 'pinned' to the SSD storage tier. Rounding out the software's feature set is AssuredRemote remote replication that can be used with VMware Site Recovery Manager to virtualization failover.

The company also unveiled new AssuredSAN 4000 hardware. The 2U storage system scales up to 192 drives and 288 TB, and features 8 Gb FC and 6 Gb SAS connectivity. Like the 5000, it is capable of 100,000 read IOPS and throughput of 5200 MBps read and 3000 MBps write.

An AssuredSAN Pro 5000 base configuration with included RealStor software, 600 GB SAS hard drives and 200 GB SSDs, for a total of 48 drives, is expected to start at approximately $63,200, according to the company.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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