Apple gives Xsan file system a sequel
In a world without Apple RAID hardware, one man stands agai...
Apple is offering the first major upgrade to its Storage Area Network (SAN) file system today, while kicking its RAID storage hardware out into the cold.
Xsan2 is a Leopard Server-tailored file system that ties into several of the operating system's features. For example, iCal Server, Mail Server and Podcast Producer can use Xsan2 for accessing clustered file systems.
The upgrade also introduces MultiSAN, a function that lets users tap multiple Xsan volumes from the same workstation or server. In addition, the OS X Spotlight search feature will now perform queries across multiple SAN volumes, and Xsan2 makes it possible to use Server Assistant for setup and configuration of SAN volumes.
Three cheers for SAN volumes.
Another flaunted addition for the file system is full qualification to work with third-party RAID storage. It's a change that makes solid sense for Apple, considering the company is ditching its own line of RAID gear.
While you once found XServe RAID on Apple.com, you'll now see a statement talking up a new hardware pact with Promise Technology. Apple is reselling Promise boxes, which start at a 6TB using 4Gb/s Fibre Channel for $12,000.
Xsan2 requires Mac OS X version 10.5 or OS X Server 10.5. The software works with Xserve, Mac Pro and Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X cards.
Xsan2 is priced at $1,000 per node, according to Apple. It's out now through Apple's online store or resellers.®
I 2nd that
I work in storage too and must 2nd Frank's viewpoint - the customers Apple has in mind with this as well as ye olde XServe RAID have specific requirements along the lines of
.) high storage - low node-count ratio
.) high sequential read/write speed
.) low redundancy requirements
This is mainly due to most data being working sets of large uncompressed video and audio. For that sort of need the XServe RAID was passable and i guess so would the Promise be (never heard of 'em other than SATA Raid controllers on substandard mobos...).
Doesn't mean I'd use it instead of a DS4800 or EVA next time i I'm asked to create a SAN for DB or mail storage...
Apple's main competition is Avid's Unity products - these SANs are for a very specific market, and Apple are making inroads.
As a professional storage person, I completely fail to see how Apple expect to be taken seriously with Promise, I mean, I don't even use their stuff at home (anymore!) If I were going to take a server manufacturer, who didn't make their own storage hardware, seriously I'd expect HDS, IBM, EMC, possibly HP.
Apple have to realise that their main competition is Windows and Linux servers, probably running on Proliant hardware which has Stoargeworks. They must do better.