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Quantum spruces up StorNext filesystem

DXi influence spreads

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Quantum has pushed out a major StorNext release, adding integrated filesystem deduplication and replication.

StorNext is filesystem software that sits in SAN clients helped by a 'traffic cop' metadata controller (MDC) astride, as it were, the LAN path between Windows, Mac, Linux and Unix clients systems and the SAN (storage area network) clients and then the SAN storage. Clients communicate with the MDC via an IP connection to obtain information about file location and block allocation, providing direct block level access to the disks.

StorNext is also a hierarchical storage manager (HSM), running in the MDC, with primary (fast) and secondary (slower but more capacious) tiers of disk and a third tier of tape storage. Data is moved up and down the tiers automatically to suit the client access requirements and capacity characteristics of the tiers. It's found a home in many data-rich media and analysis businesses, and there were 50,000 plus customers a few months ago.

Think of StorNext as a very fancy NAS head and HSM system, now with improved dedupe and replication. Quantum has also added distributed data tiering, timecode-based partial file retrieval and a Web services-based management console.

Quantum first added deduplication to StorNext in its v3.0 release in April 2007 in a so-called Data Reduction Storage tier. This was a specialised tier of disk for deduplicated data. The dedupe technology was from Rocksoft which was acquired by ADIC which, in turn, was bought by Quantum. It is the same technology that is the base of the DXi deduplication products Quantum sells today.

What Quantum has now done is to move the dedupe capability up the stack as it were, so that it is integrated into the StorNext filesystem and used for nearline data and multi-site environments. Any area of primary storage can become the repository for the deduplicated dataset. The deduplicated tier logically sits in a repository between the secondary storage tier and a tape archive, according to a Quantum product brief.

The movement of dedupe into the filesystem has been done to enable replication. StorNext customers can protect against unforeseen disasters by replicating critical data to another remote location. Naturally, with its deduplication functionality, StorNext 4.0 replicates only unique data, reducing network bandwidth needs.

Quantum has added distributed data tiering to StorNext with "Distributed Data Mover" (DDM) functionality, conduits for data to/from primary storage to the secondary storage tiers. System performance scales up as more DDMs are added. Quantum says DDMs enable reads and writes of file copies for data preservation and retrieval while still providing fast access to data via the copy on primary disk.

The timecode-based Partial File Retrieval (PFR) streamlines workflow in media asset management applications so that segments of large media files, rather than the entire file, can be quickly retrieved and used based on timecode parameters. The new web services-based management console streamlines management and monitoring through an XML-based GUI (graphical user interface).

StorNext 4.0 will be available next month through Quantum and its worldwide channel and distribution partners. ®

High performance access to file storage

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