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Xyratex to vendors: dense RAID is 4U

Bigger box, packed to the brim

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OEM storage supplier Xyratex is adding a larger, much denser RAID system to its product line.

The F5404E 4Gb FC-SAS RAID system is a 4U chassis holding 48 drives for up to 36TB of near-line storage. The appliance is the only 4U box in Xyratex's 5000 RAID line. It offers dual controller with a 512MB and 1GB of cache and hot swappable components.

While the F5404E isn't a drastic departure from the rest of the 5000s from a data throughput perspective, Xyratex is cramming more drives into the available space.

"It's probably the most dense storage sytem on the market today," director of product management, Jerry Hoetger said. It also makes the appliance have the lowest power consumption verses density ratio currently available, he said.

The company says they've avoided heat problems conducive to a crowded box by adding an air channel to both sides of the front-to-rear cooled enclosure. Each stack has four columns of drives with a perforated separator between the front and back two columns.

Xyratex says the design makes air pass directly to the third and fourth columns without going through the first and second. Air is pulled in by fans in the back. The system has three power supplies.

The company hopes it will pull those customers using tape into the disk-only storage camp.

"Even with their value added, we expect this product to be competitive with tape libraries today," Hoetger said. "And customers won't need to be talking about mounting and unmounting to tape drives."

Xyratex is a UK-based OEM vendor with RAID clients including Gateway and Maxdata. The company brands their products with their customers' logos and colors for resale — even changing the name of their software at the vendors' request.

Xyratex ended its first fiscal quarter February 28, 2007 with revenues of $236.4m. That's up 24.1 per cent from $190.5m the same period last year. ®

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