Spinnaker takes on EMC, NetApp

By Lisa Coleman

Spinnaker Networks, a Pittsburgh-based start-up, is looking to take on EMC and Network Appliance with its first network-attached storage (NAS) product—SpinServer 3300—which leverages a distributed file system for scaling up to 512 servers.

"The idea of using a distributed file system for NAS scaling has been maturing for some time, and it will be interesting to see how end users react to it," says Randy Kerns, a partner and analyst with the Evaluator Group consulting and research firm.

Spinnaker is trying to solve the problems of NAS scalability and manageability. The SpinServer 3300 supports single-server scaling up to 22TB. However, when SpinCluster software is added, a maximum of 512 SpinServers can be clustered for capacities exceeding 11PB.

A two-stage distributed file system, SpinFS, allows users to create one or more global file systems that can span hundreds of geographically dispersed SpinServers connected via a LAN, MAN, or WAN. The system enables all the servers to be managed as a single resource from a single management console.

SpinFS allows configurations to be scaled non-disruptively. For example, a single file system can be scaled across an entire cluster—connected over switched Gigabit Ethernet—without requiring changes to user shares, mount points, or namespaces.

SpinServer supports concurrent file sharing between Unix, Linux, and Windows clients using the NFS and CIFS network protocols. SpinServer is a 4U chassis with dual Intel processors and includes redundant hot-swappable power supplies and fans, SCSI drives, and four internal FC-AL host bus adapters. Pricing starts at $100,000.

Next year, Spinnaker plans to add connectivity to other vendors' SANs (for "NAS-SAN convergence"), as well as support for protocols such as the Direct Access File System (DAFS) and iSCSI.

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SpinServers include a distributed file system and can be networked together in a cluster of multiple servers called a SpinCluster.

This article was originally published on November 01, 2002