BlueArc to enter midrange NAS market

By Kevin Komiega

-- BlueArc this week will announce its first foray into the midrange NAS market with the launch of two systems that pack a performance punch and run the same software as the company's high-end Titan arrays.

The Mercury family consists of the Mercury 50 and Mercury 100. The Mercury 50 supports two cluster nodes and features 700MBps of NFS throughput with performance of up to 60,000 I/Os per second (IOPS). It also supports a maximum file system size of 256TB and up to 1PB of capacity.

The Mercury 100 supports up to eight cluster nodes, 2PB of capacity, 1,100MBps of NFS throughput and 100,000 IOPS.

Although it's a midrange system, the Mercury 100's speeds and feeds run right up against those of BlueArc's Titan 3100, which has slightly higher NFS throughput at 1,200MBps. BlueArc's director of marketing, Jeff Hill, expects some cannibalization of the Titan 3100, but says it still serves a role in enterprise data centers because of its upgrade path.

"We expect a lot of volume with the Mercury 100, and I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't impact sales of the [Titan] 3100," says Hill. However, despite the overlap, the Titan's blade architecture offers more flexibility in terms of scalability, according to Hill.

"The Titan 3100 is upgradeable through a blade change and the Mercury 100 is not," says Hill.

BlueArc's SiliconFS file system serves as the central engine that manages all data movement within the Mercury system and includes virtualization and the company's Intelligent Tiered Storage technology.

Intelligent Tiered Storage combines BlueArc Data Migration and Dynamic Read Caching, which allow administrators to set policies based on common file attributes or access patterns to ensure that data is automatically and transparently migrated to the appropriate tier of storage.

Entry-level pricing for a Mercury 50 with the BlueArc operating software, but without any disk capacity, is $45,000. BlueArc is offering the Mercury systems in bundled configurations that include a Mercury server, an external RAID controller, disk drives, and software. Hill expects an entry-level bundle to cost approximately $70,000.

The Mercury family of NAS systems will be generally available within the next 90 days. Like the existing Titan family of storage systems, the Mercury family will be sold through multiple channels, including BlueArc's direct sales force, reseller network, and through Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).

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This article was originally published on July 06, 2009