Overland RAID array supports SAS

Overland Storage has begun 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.

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. There has been increased emphasis on RAID 6 recently due to the use of high-capacity (500GB and 750GB) SATA disk drives.

There are two primary reasons why users might be interested in using RAID 6. “Some users might want RAID 6 because of the long rebuild times required for high-capacity SATA drives,” says Michael Kerman, Overland’s vice president and chief strategy officer, “while other 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 RAID 5200 are priced from $15,000 and $36,000, respectively.

SGI rolls out NAS appliances

SGI recently began shipments of a pair of NAS appliances for high-performance computing (HPC) environments and end users with large-capacity requirements. The InfiniteStorage 4550 is designed to support high-performance applications while the InfiniteStorage 4050 is designed to meet high-capacity requirements.

SGI claims the appliances have virtually no file system size restrictions and can theoretically scale up to 18 exabytes.

The 4550 is available in two models: a Streaming version and an Ultra version. The Streaming version is for applications such as media production, data mining, and oil and gas research. The Ultra version is for applications such as transaction systems, databases, and multi-user workloads of more than 500 users. The NAS 4550 Streaming model features 300GB, 10,000rpm Fibre Channel drives, while the Ultra model uses 146GB, 15,000rpm Fibre Channel drives for high-throughput workloads.

The 4050 also comes in two models: a SATA server version and a Maximum Capacity one. The 4050 can scale up to 168TB of capacity. SGI is targeting the 4050 at applications such as archiving, secondary storage, online backup, and imaging. Both NAS devices are based on SGI’s Altix 450 server and file system technologies.

Pricing for the InfiniteStorage NAS 4550 begins at $200,342 for the Streaming model and $238,655 for the Ultra model. The NAS 4050 SATA server is priced from $92,000, and the NAS 4050 Maximum Capacity model is priced from $400,000.

Verari ships NAS for HPC

Verari’s BladeRack 2 VB5150 storage subsystem addresses NAS requirements in both HPC and enterprise markets. The VB5150 includes a VB1150 head node and four VB1055S disk blades. The head node contains the NAS I/O processing, RAID controller, and the power and connectivity for the four VB1055S disk blades. Each disk blade houses 10 hot-swappable SATA-II or SAS hard drives, providing a total capacity of 30TB per VB5150 storage subsystem. Twelve subsystems can be deployed in a single BladeRack 2 platform for a total capacity of 360TB in a single rack that requires only 7.6 square feet of floor space.

Compellent intros ‘thin replication’

The new version of Compellent’s Storage Center SAN platform is designed to cut bandwidth and storage management requirements by half, according to company claims. Storage Center 3.5 focuses on remote replication and disaster recovery. The company calls the new set of features “Thin Replication.”

Thin Replication is delivered through two software products: Enterprise Manager and Remote Instant Replay. Enterprise Manager is a storage resource management (SRM) application designed to streamline replication. It also provides the ability to manage all local and remote Compellent environments from a single console.

Remote Instant Replay provides continuous (and virtually unlimited) snapshots for asynchronous or synchronous replication.

Storage Center 3.5 Thin Replication is based on the following features:

  • Bandwidth simulation: Users can see what kind of performance they can expect and how long it would take to replicate their data. It tells them the amount of bandwidth they need to purchase and saves them from over-purchasing;
  • Multi-site set-up and management: Users can view multiple Storage Centers from one console;
  • Bandwidth shaping: Administrators can give priority to mission-critical volumes and can also meter bandwidth available to each replicating volume and ensure fair distribution if multiple replications are running concurrently;
  • Bandwidth optimization: With thin provisioning, the initial synchronization does not require remote-space pre-allocation, and only written blocks are sent. In addition, during replication only changed blocks-and not entire blocks-of data are sent to the remote site. Data de-duplication constantly monitors the contents of the blocks. If the block has already been sent, it is not sent again; and
  • Instant validation and recovery: Once a snapshot is replicated, it can be tested. Instant read-and-write means that the data can be accessed without bringing the system down. Also, the disaster recovery capabilities can be tested while the system is still replicating.

    A complete Compellent solution is priced at about $100,000 for two midrange SANs (10TB total) with automated tiered storage, thin replication, snapshots, and thin provisioning. Remote Instant Reply is priced from $15,000 per site.

    iQstor ships 4Gbps FC array

    iQstor Networks is shipping the iQ2880, a 4Gbps Fibre Channel storage system that includes a variety of embedded software tools, some of which are included in the price of the system while others are available through separate licensing fees. The iQ2880 comes with volume management-based virtualization, snapshots, mirroring, remote replication, storage provisioning, and policy management capabilities.

    The iQ2880 can be scaled using the J2880 SBOD expansion enclosure to create a tiered architecture with Fibre Channel drives for primary storage and low-cost SATA drives for secondary storage.

    The iQ2880’s drive canisters include a Fibre Channel-to-SATA bridge module that allows high-capacity SATA-II drives to be used with Fibre Channel drives in the same enclosure. Each iQ2880 supports up to 15 drives, providing 4.5TB of capacity using 300GB Fibre Channel drives or 11.25TB using 750GB SATA-II drives. The systems can scale to 72TB with Fibre Channel or 180TB with SATA-II drives.

    Pricing for the iQ2880 varies by configuration and software features. For example, a 1.2TB configuration with volume manager-based virtualization software and System Manager is priced from $12,995.

    AMCC overcomes RAID-6 penalty

    AMCC claims that its 3ware 9650SE SATA-II RAID controller virtually eliminates the write penalty typically associated with RAID 6.

    Scott Cleland, AMCC’s director of marketing, claims that the performance penalty of the 9650SE controller with RAID 6 enabled is less than 10% compared to RAID 5, and that competitors’ controllers can have a performance degradation of up to 30%. (However, the claims of those competitors range anywhere from 2% to 15% in terms of the RAID-6 performance penalty.)

    RAID 6 has an inherent performance penalty because it requires two sets of parity calculations to protect against the simultaneous failure of two disk drives in an array. AMCC’s 9650SE overcomes this, to a degree, by running the two parity calculations (P and Q) at the same time.

    AMCC claims a RAID-6 sustained write performance of more than 600MBps and a read performance of more than 700MBps, in a 16-drive configuration.

    The 3Gbps SATA-II 9650SE controller is available with 2 to 16 ports (with a 24-port version due in the next quarter), supports the PCI Express host bus, and is based on AMCC’s StorSwitch non-blocking switch fabric architecture. The 4-port and 16-port 9650SE controllers are priced from $395 and $995, respectively.

    Breece Hill adds LTO libraries

    Targeting SMBs, Breece Hill has launched two new tape products: the Q16 autoloader and Q40 library. The entry-level Q16 has a single drive with a pair of eight-cartridge magazines, which deliver up to 12.8TB capacity in a 2U form factor.

    For mid-sized environments, the Q40 stores up to 32TB in a 4U rack-mountable form factor. The Q40 allows users to start with one tape drive and 24 slots and expand to a second drive and 24 more slots. Both models have a SCSI LVD interface, bar-code reader, and network-based management capabilities.

    NeoScale supports 4Gbps Fibre Channel

    NeoScale has added a 4Gbps Fibre Channel model to its line of tape security appliances. The company also introduced a second-generation security appliance that secures data to SCSI-attached tape drives.

    The new Fibre Channel CryptoStor Tape FC712 and SCSI CryptoStor SC702 both integrate with NeoScale’s open key-management appliance: the CryptoStor KeyVault. In addition to tape encryption appliances, NeoScale offers encryption appliances for hard disk systems.

    The CryptoStor Tape FC712 encryption appliance has one 4Gbps Fibre Channel port on the front-end and one on the back-end. It provides compression and encryption at wire speed.

    The CryptoStor Tape SC702 provides a 50% improvement in performance over the first-generation model. NeoScale has also added reliability features such as hot-swappable power supplies and fans.

    The CryptoStor Tape SC702 appliance will be available through resellers for approximately $16,000.

    Release of the CryptoStor Tape FC712 is slated for the first quarter of 2007 and is expected to be priced at about $45,000.

    Solix integrates archiving solution with Oracle

    Solix Technologies has integrated a “non-trigger-based” version of its ARCHIVE-jinni active archiving solution with Oracle’s E-Business Suite. Triggers are procedural codes that can add complexity and overhead to a database, which could potentially degrade system performance and reliability.

    Users can archive Oracle E-Business Suite database tables to an active archive database to improve system performance, while maintaining transactional referential integrity and transparent access to the archived data for end users. Oracle has certified the solution through the Oracle Application Integration Initiative.

    CipherOptics manages security keys

    CipherOptics’ CipherEngine Policy & Key Manager is a software-based solution designed to eliminate the complexity of policy and key management, in addition to scalability issues associated with traditional encryption.

    Based on the company’s Policy & Key Management Architecture (PKMA), Cipher-Engine allows organizations to achieve data protection and regulatory compliance without changing their underlying network structures, and enables users to encrypt data in motion and dynamically route traffic over redundant paths.

    Crossroads focuses on BIA

    The latest addition to Crossroads Systems’ line of Business Information Assurance (BIA) products is the SurePath ReadVerify Appliance (RVA), which is designed to ensure the integrity, performance, and full utilization of tape backup systems, as well as the ability to recover data from tape media.

    Features include tape drive performance and utilization analysis, media and drive statistical data logging, automated report and alert functionality, and historical resource monitoring and reporting. The SurePath RVA currently supports LTO 1, 2, and 3 tape drives from Hewlett-Packard and IBM, Quantum’s DLT/SDLT drives, and Sun/StorageTek’s T9000 series of drives.

    BIA encompasses business continuity, disaster recovery, risk management, data protection, and regulatory compliance.

    Separately, Crossroads announced that it will integrate Caringo’s CAStor content-addressed storage (CAS) platform into the archival components of its BIA product line.

    Intradyn upgrades e-mail appliances

    Intradyn has added two new models to its ComplianceVault eSeries line of “all-in-one” e-mail archiving and retrieval appliances, with capacities of 1.5TB (model e1500) and 3.7TB (e3700).

    The appliances are based on the Intel S5000PAL platform and SATA disk drives. The e3700 includes six 750GB SATA drives and RAID 5.

    The appliances capture all e-mails on a continuous, real-time basis and store the e-mail on both hard disk and tape. A Sony AIT tape library with WORM functionality is bundled with each appliance.

    New software features include faster searching, “distributed fetching” (the ability to retrieve e-mails from many mail servers at the same time), and optimized system archiving.

    The e1500 and e3700 are priced from $14,995 and $29,995, respectively. Intradyn is expected to ship a clustered configuration in Q1 2007 that will enable capacity scaling up to 30TB.

    Product highlights from VMworld

    At the VMworld 2006 conference in Los Angeles last month, a number of storage vendors demonstrated products that integrate with a variety of VMware offerings, such as VMware ESX Server, Virtual Infrastructure, VMotion, Virtual Machine Importer, and Distributed Resource Scheduler.

    For example, Symantec unveiled Veritas Cluster Server (VCS) 5.0 for VMware ESX, which is designed to bring high availability and disaster recovery to heterogeneous data centers that run virtual server software. VCS for VMware ESX manages clustered virtual and physical servers and automates remote fail-over for disaster recovery. The software can centralize cluster management for a single ESX server or across a campus or WAN to prevent downtime due to application, virtual machine, network link, or server failures.

    VCS for VMware ESX integrates with VMware’s VMotion, recognizing movement of virtual servers and updating the cluster status. The software also integrates with VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), a workload optimization feature.

    Symantec’s VCS is part of Veritas Server Foundation, a software suite that enables users to discover what is running on their servers, to manage and administer the servers, and ensure high availability.

    In addition to supporting VMware ESX, VCS complements Symantec’s clustering solutions for Windows, Linux, and Unix platforms. VCS for VMware ESX is scheduled for release in Q1 2007. Pricing starts at $1,995 per server.

    Showcasing its SANmelody SAN software, which supports VMware virtual infrastructures, DataCore Software introduced its Virtual Infrastructure Foundation software, which is priced at less than $1,000. The entry-level software includes SANmotion data-migration services and thin provisioning. Virtual Infrastructure Foundation is designed for VMware proof-of-concept deployments and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and workgroups to automate storage resource use over IP networks.

    Double-Take Software demonstrated a pre-release version of Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure at VMworld. The software runs outside the virtual-machine context on a VMware ESX Server host, replicating virtual machines to a secondary VMware ESX Server host and protecting the operating system, applications, and data. Double-Take also announced support for VMware’s new Virtual Machine Importer 2. Users can leverage the software along with Double-Take’s continuous data replication to move physical servers to virtual machines with minimal system downtime.

    Emulex announced its LightPulse Virtual Host Bus Adapter (Virtual HBA) technology for VMware Infrastructure environments. The LightPulse Virtual HBA technology is available for use with the company’s 4Gbps Fibre Channel HBAs and is interoperable with fabric switches from Brocade, Cisco, and McData. The technology enables each virtual machine or guest operating system to own and access a dedicated virtual HBA or worldwide port name (WWPN) even when several virtual machines share the same physical configuration management.

    By implementing N-Port ID Virtualization, Emulex’s Virtual HBA technology enables server-virtualization solutions to deliver zoning and LUN mapping, simplifying storage administration and lowering cost of ownership. LightPulse Virtual HBA technology is expected to be generally available for VMware Infrastructure in the first half of 2007.

    This article was originally published on December 01, 2006