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SGI storage gets a head transplant

ZFS-based Nexenta NAS head

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SGI has stuck a Nexenta NAS head on the modular version of its InfiniteStorage product line and extended the halfway house of a departmental filer it pushed out in January.

Back then SGI released its MIS server and JBOD in a phase one NAS launch, saying thin provisioning, snapshots and replication were coming, along with more integrated, appliance-like systems with a focus on Gluster, OpenStack and Hadoop, and possibly Nexenta (ZFS). Today the Nexenta one has arrived in the shape of an appliance-like SGI NAS product.

It uses, SGI assures us, the latest Xeon E5 processors and can scale from TB to multiple PB with "multi-node local and remote clusters," this being no limited departmental filer box but one suitable for big data and high-performance computing. The box supports:

  • Full mixed vendor VM integration
  • Multiple NAS and block access protocols
  • In-line deduplication
  • Native compression
  • Unlimited snapshots and cloning
  • Unlimited file size
  • High-availability with support for real-time failover between active/active clusters in different geographies
  • Synchronous and asynchronous multi-site replication
  • Monitoring to identify and prevent silent data corruption

SGI has solid high-end NAS competition with EMC Isilon, HDS BueArc, DataDirect Networks and Panasas, plus Dell which has an HPC presence and its own Exanet filer software. The stakes are high; SGI is restructuring after losses.

Under new CEO, Jorge Luis Titinger, SGI is firing a quarter of its European headcount and closing various European offices and legal entities, costing up to $17m but saving up to $7.5m a year.

It had previously laid off 4 per cent of its workforce in February 2011. Rackable bought the struggling Silicon Graphics International for $42.5m in May 2009, renamed itself SGI and has had a torrid time of it ever since, trying to find a stable niche from which to develop markets and build out its product line. With Titinger replacing the over-ambitious and now ex-CEO, Mark Barrenechea, hopefully SGI can settle down, regain profitability and grow.

The SGI NAS is not going into an empty marketplace and SGI will be hoping ZFS can work its magic and spell-bind customers into buying kit.

SGI NAS is available for pre-order now from SGI, and pricing information is available upon request. ®

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