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Coraid jumps on ZFS bandwagon

That's a bit disruptive

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Coraid is adding a ZFS-based NAS appliance to its EtherDrive SAN array product, joining other companies like Compellent in using ZFS in this way.

Coraid supplies block storage accessed over Ethernet using an ATA-over-Ethernet (AoE) protocol which is not routed, is lossless and doesn't need any storage protocols such as iSCSI or FCoE. The pitch is that you get cheaper and easer-to-manage storage because the connecting adapter is less expensive and the storage access driver software simpler.

Coraid recently received an injection of funds and new senior management and it aims to get bigger by supplying storage to virtualised servers. It's adding a Z-Series network-attached storage (NAS) and diskless appliance which sits atop the EtherDrive SAN storage with a single management platform.

There are two flavours: the EtherDrive Z2000 with ZFS, 4 cores, 32GB RAM, and either 8 x 1Gbit/s Ethernet or 4 x 10Gbit/s Ethernet connectivity, and the ZX3000 with ZFS, 8 cores, 48GB RAM, Level 2 SSD cache, and the same Ethernet connectivity. That's a lot of hardware.

Terri McClure, an ESG senior analyst, said: “The feature set and price point of CORAID’s EtherDrive Z-Series make it a highly disruptive platform.” This will be music to Coraid's ears. Like many recent NAS product launches it's aimed at the scale-out NAS market for the flood of file-based storage that is reckoned to be outgrowing the far larger base of SAN storage.

The Z-Series with ZFS provides a plethora of features such as in-line deduplication, replication, unlimited snapshots, compression, automatic tiering using the attached EtherDrive's SATA and SAS disk and SSD storage tiers, continuous data protection, integrated file search and thin provisioning. Pricing bundles star at less than $1,000/TB. ZFS is a great short cut to adding a whole lot of features to a NAS box.

As a general observation, the mid-range and low-end NAS market is heating up. Iomega has its products; there's Overland with its Snap Servers, Compellent with its ZFS head, Dell, Data Robotics, Acer, NetApp, Western Digital and more. Whether the Z-Series is disruptive enough to prevent these competitors making more progress than Coraid is a big question for the tiny company. ®

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