Start-up offers IP storage clusters

By Kevin Komiega

Start-up Pivot3 recently made its presence known with a new approach toward cost-effective network storage.

Pivot3 has come up with a way to use off-the-shelf components and a parallelized I/O architecture to provide an IP-based storage cluster that can potentially deliver up to 5x the performance at half of the cost of some competing solutions, according to company claims.

The company’s initial offering, dubbed the RAIGE (RAID Across Independent Gigabit Ethernet) Storage Cluster, is an iSCSI implementation of the Pivot3 block-level infrastructure virtualization architecture that provides a “virtual distributed RAID” implementation.

Jeff Bell, vice president of marketing for Pivot3, says the RAIGE Storage Cluster, which is designed for both Windows and Linux environments, breaks the performance and capacity limits of physical RAID devices by using block-level virtualization and eliminating the need for specialized RAID hardware and storage controllers.

“We designed the system without any RAID or storage controllers, which provides a better way to do RAID data protection in a clustered environment,” says Bell. “Every client has direct access to the back-end storage nodes, nothing has to funnel through a controller, and the system gets faster as you build out your infrastructure.”

Data protection is supported across multiple networked storage nodes, called Databanks, which are built using standard x86 servers and disk drives and are connected via Gigabit Ethernet. Databank nodes can be added to scale capacity to hundreds of terabytes. Each node adds processing power, cache, and network ports, contributing to the overall performance. Each node contains 12 500GB or 750GB drives for a raw capacity of up to 9TB.

Drives and Databanks of any size can be added non-disruptively and, unlike DAS or server-based storage, Pivot3 storage can be virtually assigned when and where it is required, without the need for re-cabling. Databanks are automatically discovered and can be assigned to a new virtual array or added to an existing virtual array.

Bell claims data recovery times are 5x to 10x faster with system-wide parallel processing and a proprietary algorithm that optimizes the rebuild process. RAIGE supports on-the-fly configuration changes, and data is continuously available through volume provisioning changes.

Pivot3 is initially targeting its RAIGE Storage Cluster product at the digital video surveillance market, which requires scalable, high-performance, low-cost storage systems, according to Bell.

A 6TB Databank node is priced at $17,499.

This article was originally published on July 01, 2007