NEC scores OEM deal for D-Series arrays

By Kevin Komiega

-- NEC Corporation of America announced today it has struck a deal with RAID Inc. that will bring NEC's D-Series modular storage arrays to more customers in the high-performance computing (HPC), government, research and corporate storage markets.

NEC's D-Series will be offered as RAID Inc.'s Xanadu product line. The arrays can scale from 219GB to more than 1.5PB of capacity with support for a mix of SAS and SATA drives in a range of RAID configurations.

Under the Xanadu brand, RAID Inc. is selling the system as a tiered midrange solution scalable to up to 144 SAS or SATA drives for a maximum capacity of 144TB. The Xanadu arrays will also feature an accompanying suite of optional storage services such as performance monitoring and optimization, LUN masking, logical disk management, snapshots, dynamic data replication, and remote replication. RAID-6 is included to ensure continued operation even if errors occur in two drives at the same time.

The arrays include up to 12 Fibre Channel ports and can connect to 12 servers, or to six servers in redundant mode. The system uses two instances of redundant cache, rather than the typical single instance, to minimize operational impact in the event of a failure.

RAID Inc. is a custom storage solution provider with a suite of products and managed services primarily aimed at the HPC, government and education markets -- customers that typically run sequential applications that lend themselves to SATA-based disk arrays. When RAID began searching for a fast, reliable storage system to fill a gap in its product line, NEC's D-Series topped the list, according to Bob Picardi, RAID Inc.'s COO.

"Data integrity and reliability are huge issues for our users. We heard from customers that they were experiencing a lot of silent drive failures and could not read critical data," says Picardi. "NEC's controller validates parity checks on reads and proactively scans disks for bad sectors and other anomalies and can fix them while running."

NEC is a household name in the IT world, but it is not necessarily known for storage, especially in North America. Despite controlling more than 40% of the storage market in Japan, building the NEC storage brand is a work in progress.

"There was not a real mechanism in place to get the D-Series into the market when we announced it last year, but we have made some organizational changes and are now putting branded NEC storage on the map," says Jack Igoe, D-Series product director with NEC's IT Platform Group.

NEC is in the process of strengthening its storage distribution channel and generating brand recognition.

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This article was originally published on July 07, 2008