Data Robotics upgrades iSCSI RAID arrays

By Dave Simpson

-- Data Robotics boosted performance by up to 50% on its RAID arrays via an additional GbE/iSCSI port, faster processors and more memory, and software techniques such as multiple stream optimization. In addition, the new DroboElite disk array now supports multiple hosts (up to 16) and LUN affinity (aka LUN masking).

"LUN affinity makes it easier and safer to support multiple hosts because there is no chance of overwriting data or accidentally allocating the same LUN to multiple hosts," says Jim Sherhart, Data Robotics' senior director of marketing. Previous arrays in the company's Drobo line were designed primarily for direct-attached, single-server configurations.

As do all of the Drobo arrays, the DroboElite includes the company's BeyondRAID technology, which allows users and resellers to mix and match drive sizes, speeds and manufacturers, and to hot-swap drives while the array is running (without re-configuration).

BeyondRAID also includes Smart Volumes technology, which is a version of thin provisioning that allows administrators to manage capacity at the LUN level, according to Sherhart. Users can configure the array with up to 255 Smart Volumes (vs. 16 volumes on the DroboPro version). Unlike traditional thin provisioning, which allocates volumes to a specific physical drive, Smart Volumes allow users to create or expand volumes from a common pool of storage. Smart Volumes "stay thin" by reclaiming deleted data blocks.

But pricing may be the lure for SMBs. An eight-slot DroboElite iSCSI SAN array without disk drives is priced at $3,499. A 16TB configuration with eight 2TB SATA drives is priced at $5,899.

In addition to the DroboElite, Data Robotics introduced the Drobo S array today, which includes an eSATA interface as well as support for FireWire and USB 2.0. The five-bay array is priced at $799 without drives, or $1,799 for a 10TB version with five 2TB SATA drives. As do all of the company's Drobo arrays, the Drobo S includes an option dubbed Dual Disk Redundancy, which is analogous to RAID-6 dual-parity data protection. RAID 6 protects against the simultaneous failure of two drives.

Related articles:
NEC adds iSCSI model to D-Series arrays
Reldata simplifies ‘unified storage' management

This article was originally published on November 23, 2009