NEC provides architecture sneak preview

By Dave Simpson

—Worldwide, NEC is approximately the tenth largest vendor of external disk systems, yet it's relatively unknown in the US. The company hopes to change that with products based on a new architecture that was unveiled this week—although the actual products aren't expected for at least another six months.

NEC Corporation of America's HYDRAstor is a grid-based architecture that forms a single pool consisting of Accelerator Nodes (standard Intel servers) for scaling performance and Storage Nodes (consisting of 500GB SATA drives) for scaling capacity. Performance and capacity can be scaled independently. To eliminate planned downtime, nodes can be added, removed, or upgraded non-disruptively. The nodes run NEC's DynamicStor management software, which provides a suite of data-management services, including snapshot-based continuous data protection (CDP), migration, replication, and encryption. Future releases will include data identification features such as classification, indexing, and search.

The company claims its DataRedux technology can minimize data duplication across and within incoming data streams, without performance degradation. Company officials claim to be able to reduce capacity requirements by as much as 75%.

A Distributed Resilient Data (DRD) feature provides resiliency beyond RAID. The default configuration protects against the simultaneous failure of three disk drives. The level of resiliency can be adjusted for different data types.

The system will reportedly enable users to establish policies for automating data protection, retention, and expiration tasks, while eliminating manual tasks such as storage provisioning.

Products based on the HYDRAstor architecture will be delivered in phases. The initial platform will be targeted at secondary storage (e.g., backup and archival applications) and will include replication. The next phase will combine primary and secondary storage in the same platform.

The following companies are participating in NEC's beta program: the Anderson Center for Autism, Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp., and the Federal Reserve System.

This article was originally published on March 14, 2007