Feeds

Compellent adds file-level access to SAN

Unified storage here we come

The essential guide to IT transformation

Compellent is adding integrated file-level access to its SAN product, and using Sun's open source ZFS to do so.

The zNAS product is a 1U enclosure running the file access software on diskless, dual quad-core Nehalem hardware, which can be clustered in two nodes for high availability. It has 1Gbit Ethernet client access, with 10GbitE coming, and 8Gbit/sec Fibre Channel access to the backend storage. There are 24GB and 48GB memory options.

The file access is conceptually layered onto Compellent's storage array such that it benefits from all the features of that product concerning a single virtual pool of storage, thin provisioning, solid state drives, multiple types of hard drive, automatic data progression for moving data blocks between tiers and so on.

The Compellent SAN thus becomes a network-attached storage (NAS) product, offering NFS and CIFS access, with a single management facility for both the file world and the block, storage area network (SAN) world.

This is, in effect, a significant update of the existing NAS head facility which is a 1U Xeon-powered box running Microsoft's Windows Storage Server. The box has been given an extra slug of processing power and WSS replaced with ZFS.

ZFS or the Zettabyte File System is a 128-bit file system which is outrageously scalable and has checksum technology to verify data integrity. Compellent has chosen Nexenta to be its ZFS development partner, because of its "deep engineering-level expertise". It says the product is backed all the way and supported by Compellent.

Compellent says it asked its customers what they wanted and a big priority was integrated, high-performance and scalable file access. Marketeer Bruce Kornfeld said: "ZFS fit the bill perfectly."

He was confident that the lawsuits over NFS between NetApp and Sun, now Oracle, were very low-risk, saying that in ten years of open source software lawsuits had raised their heads but nothing had happened. Also: "Oracle is very committed to its open storage acquisition."

It cites IDC as saying that the file market is growing ten times faster than the block storage market, although it also quotes Gartner saying the SAN market is currently five times bigger than the NAS market.

Kornfeld said: "Creating a new fileshare is very easy. Most everything is done automatically on the backend." Compellent says its customers should find that "unified SAN/NAS management simplifies provisioning and recovery of virtual servers in VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and Oracle environments".

Unified block and file storage has become very fashionable of late, with NetApp having helped make it mainstream, Pillar offering it since day one, and EMC looking to converge its CLARiiON block and Celerra file storage products. Many iSCSI arrays, from vendors such as Reldata and Nimbus, have NAS access facilities such that it's rare to find an iSCSI array these days that doesn't have file access.

Pillar CEO Mike Workman distinguishes between Pillar and NetApp's native unified storage and NAS head or gateway-based approaches, blogging that: "Most vendors stick a NAS gateway device in front of their block device. Interposing a gateway gives you two management interfaces and the management overhead of provisioning storage on both devices to get the job done once."

Compellent says it has a single pane of glass management and the provisioning is not difficult because most of it is automated and done by the backend SAN storage.

Customers can buy Compellent's unified storage with a two-node clustered zNAS setup or buy the clustered zNAS nodes only. The products will be generally available by the end of June.

Excluding taxes, maintenance and services, Compellent unified storage starts at £54,600 with two clustered zNAS nodes, two clustered SAN controllers, 8.7TB of SAS storage capacity and Compellent SAN software. Adding two clustered zNAS nodes to an existing Compellent SAN starts at £23,400 excluding taxes, maintenance and services. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.