Compellent Technologies Inc. today announced a new network-attached storage (NAS) array that consolidates file- and block-level storage on a single storage platform based on Sun Microsystems' ZFS file system.
The zNAS product is a 1U NAS gateway device that sits on top of Compellent's Storage Center 5 array. Through the company's recently announced Fluid Data virtualization management architecture, the new Compellent zNAS array can actively manage and move data in a virtual pool of storage, regardless of the size and type of block, file or drive.
The zNAS gateway's hardware consists of a server with dual Intel Xeon Quad-Core E5540 (Nehalem) processors, with 24GB or 48GB of memory. The gateway comes with 1Gbit/sec. Ethernet front-end connectivity (with 10Gbit Ethernet planned for later), and 8Gbit/sec. Fibre Channel back-end connectivity.
The array offers data replication, data snapshots, automated data tiering and thin provisioning, which allocates just enough storage to supply any given client server's needs without over-allocating capacity for an application. File-level data storage is expandable under a single global name space that Compellent said can scale to 16 exabytes with expansion disk arrays.
Terri McClure, an analyst with market research firm Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., said more and more users are looking towards unified storage platforms to support application environments from a shared storage pool, "especially in virtual server environments because it provides users with the flexibility to allocate either block or file storage as required to support application requirements." "Compellents addition of zNAS gives it a well rounded solution especially considering the advanced automation features Compellent brings to the market that reduce administrative burden," she added in an e-mail response to Computerworld
The zNAS array addresses the rise in unstructured data in enterprises, from e-mail and documents to photos and video. It will be in direct competition with EMC Corp.'s NS Celerra and NetApp Inc.'s FAS 3000 arrays, which also offer block- and file-level storage through a single product.
"We were hearing from our customers that we needed more support for file-based applications," said Bob Fine, director of product marketing at Compellent. "As we scoured the market looking for a file system ... our research led us to ZFS. It really gave us the advanced scalability we were looking for."
The Compellent zNAS offers a single interface for managing Unix, Linux and Windows file and block data. The array can handle several storage networking protocols, including Fibre Channel, Fiber Channel over Ethernet, iSCSI, CIFS or NFS.
"It's not one technology to the exclusion of another. Customers are able to add new technologies as they want. They can start with iSCSI and Fibre Channel. Then, they can migrate Fibre Channel from one speed to another. It's all about upgrading the system over time without limits," Fine said.
The array also can be populated with any number of disk drives, including solid-state drives (SSD) or Fibre Channel, SAS or SATA drives. Data can then be tiered to drive arrays based on preset policies.
The level of automation capable with the zNAS array allows enterprises to simplify data management, seamlessly scale capacity, improve performance for critical applications and reduce complexity and costs, according to Fine.
The zNAS array will be generally available by the end of June and will be sold in two pricing options: as an upgrade to a Storage Center array or as a new array fronted by the zNAS gateway.
The starting price for a zNAS dual-clustered gateway device is $30,000. A 9TB zNAS gateway with a 9TB Storage Center array begins at $84,000.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.