Coraid adds virtualization to Ethernet SANs

By Dave Simpson

Coraid today introduced the EtherDrive VSX-Series of storage virtualization appliances for  Ethernet SANs based on the ATA-over-Ethernet (AoE) protocol and Coraid’s disk arrays. The VSX virtualization appliances bring “enterprise-class” features to Ethernet SANs, including logical volume management, synchronous mirroring, snapshots and cloning.

Logical volume management (LVM) provides virtual disk pooling and flexible LUN sizing.

“You can chop up a physical LUN into smaller pieces, or micro LUNs, or you can create a macro LUN that spreads across multiple storage shelves,” explains Coraid CEO Kevin Brown. “LVM can be particularly important in multi-tenant environments.”

LVM virtualizes physical storage resources. However, as with all of the VSX features, it can be used only with Coraid’s EtherDrive SR or SRX disk arrays.

The VSX virtualization appliances include local and remote synchronous mirroring/replication to eliminate single points of failure. The appliances also include block-level snapshots (copy on write) with support for up to 4,080 LUNS and 256 snapshots per LUN. And Coraid’s Snap Shadow asynchronous replication enables snapshots to be copied over a WAN for disaster recovery purposes.

Lastly, the VSX virtualization appliances include clones, or writeable snapshots, with unlimited clones per snapshot.

The appliances are available with 1Gbps or 10Gbps Ethernet interfaces.

Brown claims that Coraid’s AoE-based Layer-2 Ethernet SANs are less expensive and complex than Fibre Channel SANs or iSCSI SANs, while providing a scale-out architecture.

Coraid did not disclose specific pricing for the VSX appliances (quotes are available on the Coraid web site), but Brown says that pricing typically starts at less than $20,000. He adds that Coraid’s EtherDrive arrays are typically priced at around $500 per TB.

Coraid secured $25 million in Series B funding near the end of last year, bringing its total funding to $35 million.

Related articles:

Coraid doubles density of Ethernet SANs (Enterprise Storage Forum)

Coraid combines ZFS-based NAS with AoE (InfoStor)

Coraid ships AoE-based SAN arrays (InfoStor)

This article was originally published on March 01, 2011