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Iomega announces StorCenter networked storage array

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Iomega has announced the StorCenter ix12-300r 2U rackmount networked storage array for small and medium businesses and small enterprise workgroups, departments and distributed/branch offices.

Jonathan Huberman, Iomega's president, said: "The StorCenter ix12-300r [fits] in the market segment between the current Iomega and EMC [CLARiiON] network storage offerings." EMC is using the Iomega brand to produce a unified low-end storage box instead of making a smaller CLARiiON than the AX or lowering the AX's price.

The ix12-300r is intended for file (NAS, CIFS, NFS, AFP, FTP, http/s) and block (SAN, iSCSI and direct-attached storage or DAS) storage, offering unified storage capabilities. Iomega's suggested use-cases include disk-to-disk (D2D) backup, shared storage for virtualised environments including Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and VMware vSphere, and application-specific storage such as Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, for which it can be configured as a direct-attached storage (DAS) device.

The controller has 2GB of RAM and uses an Intel Core2Duo hyper-threaded dual core processor, not a quad-core one, which helps to keep the product's price down. It has four 1GbitE connections for host access and three USB 2.0 links. These can be used to hook up a UPS or external drives for data upload or export. There can be up to 250 users and non-dedicated administrators can replace the redundant hot-swap fans and power supplies to maximise system availability.

The product has a 64-bit Linux O/S, comes with EMC's LifeLine software and is HCL certified for VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer. It is also certified with Windows Server 2008 R2, and three backup applications: Symantec Backup Exec, EMC Retrospect and Acronis TrueImage & Backup Server 10.

The LifeLine software has Device-to-Device Replication - which EMC confusingly terms D2D - as well as iSCSI support, remote access, Apple Time Machine support and a Bluetooth capability. It supports link aggregation between the four Gigabit Ethernet ports for high I/O workloads, and has a Virtual LAN (VLAN) capability. WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) is supported as is Microsoft's DFS single file name space capability across multiple arrays. Iomega says this simplifies capacity expansion and management as additional arrays are added.

There is an internal video surveillance application, which includes scheduling recordings, encoding and archiving video, and is compatible with Panasonic video surveillance cameras.

The ix12-300r comes with RAID 5 and can be configured for RAID 6, RAID 1 and RAID 10, all with automatic RAID rebuild, as well as a JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) providing a single volume of storage. The RAID 6 configuration provides dual parity drives for each group of data drives, further ensuring data integrity should two drives fail.

The ix12 supports single and multiple storage pools, enabling the drives to be grouped together by similar size and data protection mechanism. Iomega provides the example of an eight-drive RAID 6 group for file and database data, and a four-drive RAID 10 group for log data. The array also supports online RAID type migration from RAID 1 to RAID 5 to RAID 6 so users can tune data protection on the fly.

The product starts with 4TB and 8TB base configurations, using 1 and 2TB SATA drives, and can be expanded in four-drive increments of 4TB or 8TB, up to a total of 24TB. The expansion can be done when the unit is online and application data access is unaffected.

Competing products include Overland Data's SnapServer and rackmount storage from Dell, HP, LaCie, Data Robotics, Tandberg and others. It is a hotly-contested market sector and Iomega will be hoping that the ease of use, availability and software features swing buying decisions its way. Being on EMC's support matrix should help as well. For Dell this is having EMC move into its low-end storage sector via Iomega, but Dell and EMC are both grown-ups and play the co-opetition game.

The StorCenter ix12-300r will be available in the USA from mid-May from CDW, and can be purchased in mid-June from Iomega's other US channel partners, priced from $4,999.99 (suggested) for the 4TB model. It will be available internationally to resellers via Iomega's distribution channels. ®

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