Permabit ships multi-PB archiving system

By Kevin Komiega

—This week, Permabit announced the Enterprise Archive Data Center Series system, a long-term archiving platform with data-reduction and availability features aimed at alleviating the cost and management problems caused by the growth of fixed data.

Permabit CEO Tom Cook contends that traditional approaches to storing fixed data are either too expensive or suffer performance problems.

"Companies are experiencing tremendous growth of fixed information in their primary storage environments. That's why they're beginning to turn their attention to more cost-effective platforms for that information," says Cook. "At the other end of the spectrum, companies store their fixed information on incumbent technologies such as optical and tape media. This approach is cost-effective, but there are no service levels."

According to the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) research and consulting firm, as much as 80% of static or fixed data currently resides on transaction-optimized primary storage systems. "This data is vital to the organization, but it is infrequently accessed and belongs on a different tier of storage," says ESG analyst Heidi Biggar.

What separates the Data Center Series from Permabit's prior offerings are its RAIN-EC and Scalable Data Reduction technologies. The RAIN-EC storage grid architecture provides secure data protection from multiple simultaneous failures. Permabit CTO and founder Jered Floyd says RAIN-EC represents a new approach to data protection that provides significantly higher reliability than RAID 6.

"Most RAID failures are not due to the failure of multiple disk spindles. They are due to uncorrectable read operations. We break up the data into six different shards on six different drives in the system, and therefore the system can withstand multiple, simultaneous failures," says Floyd. "This goes beyond RAID 6, because we have built-in protection against uncorrectable reads."

The Scalable Data Reduction technology combines traditional compression techniques with sub-file data de-duplication, resulting in space savings.

The Data Center Series also features replication, file-level WORM capabilities, automated monitoring with integrated notification, and support for the CIFS, NFS, and WebDAV protocols.

The Permabit architecture relies on two components—access nodes and storage nodes. Access nodes provide the throughput while the storage nodes supply capacity, data routing and indexing, and virtual storage management. The nodes combine to create a storage grid that allows for non-disruptive, rolling upgrades and automatic data migration and load-balancing.

The system offers up to 96TB of raw capacity per grid, and users can combine up to 32 grids in a unified system. The platforms scale from 16TB to 3PB.

The Data Center Series is available at a starting price for physical storage of $5 per gigabyte. The cost drops further once data-reduction technologies are factored in. Permabit claims the cost can drop to between $.33 and $2.33/GB when compression and sub-file-level de-duplication are applied.

In related news, Permabit has renamed its RAIN-M family of archiving systems. Now known as the Business Series, the platforms have many of the same features of the new Data Center Series, but a capacity ceiling of 40TB. Data Center Series access and storage nodes are interoperable with Business Series platforms.

This article was originally published on February 01, 2008