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Overland soups up SnapServer

Adds Geoff Barrall for extra pizzazz

High performance access to file storage

Overland Storage has souped up its SnapServers with Drobo-style dynamic volume resizing and RAID. This is what the Nasdaq fuss is about.

The new SnapServers can mix disk types and offer a single storage pool from which volumes are drawn and protected. There are two models – the DX1 and DX2 – which replace the existing 410 and 610 models, plus a new release of the Guardian O/S, v7.0.

The DX1 is a 1U rackmount enclosure with four disk drives, either 300 or 600GB SAS, or 1, 2 or 3TB SATA. It can expand to 156TB with 2U, 2 X 12 drive, expansion units, and supports up to 100 users. Replication is optional as is the DynamicRAID feature. RAID levels 5 and 6 are a standard feature, as are volume management and both block and file support.

The DX2 is a 2U unit with two power supplies, one more than the DX1, and DynamicRAID as a standard feature. The same expansion cabs enable scaling capacity up to 288TB with 3TB drives.

Dynamic RAID pools storage in a single enclosure. We expect that Overland, considering it has purchased the clustering assets of MaxiScale, will offer the ability to combine all the enclosures in a SnapServer and offer a single pool across them, and then offer the ability to have a single pool across clustered SnapServers. We might, for example envisage a GOS 7.1 or 8.0 release providing this.

Overland says Dynamic RAID provides thin provisioning as volumes can grow or shrink dynamically with no downtime. Different business functions can use the storage on a SnapServer and, as data grows, more drives or another expansion cab is bought, and the extra capacity added to the pool, with volumes then expanded to use it.

This ease of operational use reminds us of Drobo and its BeyondRAID feature on the one hand and Dell/Compellent on the other. Overland's engineering boss, Geoff Barrall, founded Data Robotics, the Drobo product company which recently renamed itself Drobo.

The technology is all Overland's – both the hardware design and the software – and it is having the system contract-manufactured. The aim of the DynamicRAID software is to being enterprise-class NAS features down to the small and medium business market, and the pricing, which should gladden the hearts of Overland's 2,000-plus resellers, reflects that.

The installed base of some 300,000 SnapServer units should be a fertile upgrade market and Overland has product here which can take on commodity NAS, such as the Windows Storage Server filers that have sprung up all the place. The DX1 and DX2 become Overland's mainstream filers and will, the company hopes, enable it to grow its customer base, and take on competition in this area from the likes of Buffalo, HP, Iomega and others.

Incidentally Overland hopes that the results of the BDT patent infringement lawsuit, which should be announced by 23 November, will be beneficial, with a boost to its revenues "from zero to infinity" according to one insider. The law firm involved has taken on the case on a no-win, no-fee basis.

A 4TB DX1 costs $1,699 (suggested retail price) with a 36TB DX2 costing $7,199. Product is available now. ®

High performance access to file storage

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