Exanet scales clustered NAS

By Dave Simpson

—Exanet this week announced upgrades to its product line—now dubbed ExaStore 2008 Clustered NAS System—that increase the scalability of the systems and software in terms of both capacity and performance.

Enhancements include the following:

  • Scalability up to 500TB in a two-node cluster (vs. 120TB in previous two-node configurations);
  • Support for quad-core Intel Xeon processors;
  • Optional support for 10Gbps Ethernet (for both intra-cluster connections and connectivity to clients); and
  • Enhanced integration with Windows, including Active Directory

Although most of the upgrades are on the software front, the company also introduced a new hardware module—the EX1500 Clustered NAS Server—that includes two 2GHz Xeon quad-core CPUs and 16GB of ECC memory, 14 Gigabit Ethernet connections (or an optional four 10Gbps Ethernet links), dual 4Gbps Fibre Channel host bus adapter (HBA) ports, the ExaStore operating system, and throughput of more than 400MBps, according to the company.

The EX1500s are NAS heads, or "bricks," that can be connected to back-end disk arrays (typically IBM DS or DX RAID arrays, although the heads are compatible with a variety of disk systems from other vendors, including DataDirect Networks and 3PAR).

Pricing for Exanet's clustered NAS systems depends on the configuration, and software is licensed by capacity. A basic two-node cluster of EX-1500s with a software license for 10TB is priced at $71,854. A fully configured two-node system with 96TB of capacity on SATA drives lists for $535,165. Both examples include all management software, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), and networking support.

Exanet's primary target markets include digital media (e.g., pre/post-production and broadcasting), Web 2.0 applications, and data vaulting, according to Clive Surfleet, Exanet's chief marketing and strategy officer.

The company's clustered NAS configurations enable users to scale both capacity and performance online and provide a single (distributed) file system that Exanet claims can support more than 128 billion files under a single namespace. Other features include virtualized storage, load-balancing, petabyte-level provisioning, snapshots, replication, and multi-protocol support (CIFS, NFS, NIS/LDAP, AD, DNS, AFP, and FTP),

Exanet's clustered NAS systems compete with clustered file system architectures and vendors such as Network Appliance, EMC, Isilon, BlueArc, and ONStor.

Exanet claims to have more than 100 customers, including large installations at Nokia (600TB), BNF (600TB), and Digitiliti (320TB).

This article was originally published on March 07, 2008