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Intel pushes Atom-fueled storage for homes, SMB

Hot-swappable RAID for home, sweet home

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Intel is pushing its Cedar Trail Atom D2550 and D2500 processors as the power behind a range of network-attached storage (NAS) systems aimed at small business and power home users.

"The amount of data being created in the home and by small businesses is bloating," said David Tuhy, GM of Intel's storage division at a Thursday event in San Francisco to launch three of the systems. "Backing up that data is vital and it needs to be done safely and securely."

QNAP, Asustor, and Thecus have all started producing two, four, and five disk systems retailing for between $300 and 500, using the Intel platform. They come with 4GB of main memory, Ethernet capability or the ability to shift data via Wi-Fi, along with USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, HDMI and/or VDI output, and a software-based RAID to make sure that data is safely backed up.

Intel's Thunderbolt high-speed data transmission system isn't being built into the designs, however, since this hasn't yet been integrated into Atom systems. Adding it in now would require a separate discrete module to cope, Tuhy said.

The idea is that you'd have one of these boxes in your house or office where they would be configured to take automatic backups of connected devices. The NAS could then either be accessed online via a password-protected IP address, or files could be simply downloaded directly.

They can run in either Windows or Linux environments, with security from McAfee's AV SDK for the former and VirusScan Enterprise for open source users. Disks are hot-swappable in the event of failure.

The base spec D2500 Atom systems are designed to handle everyday backup, but Tuhy said that the D2550, with its hardware acceleration support and better graphics capability, would allow the units to be hooked up to dual monitors and handle more graphics-intensive workloads. One demonstration system linked the storage systems up to a video camera for an office or home CCTV recording system.

Higher-end storage systems, for 12 disks and above, are currently using Xeon processors, Tuhy said, but the Atom chips are powerful enough for home systems for at least the next five years. They also have the advantage of running a lot cooler than Xeon systems and consuming less power. ®

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