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Wannabe ZFS rival Exablox decloaks MYSTERY NAS box

It's managed through the cloud. That's what you wanted, right?

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Mystery storage startup Exablox has finally uncloaked its secret project - which turned out to be a simple scale-out filer managed through a cloud-based utility.

The product is called OneBlox and is managed through OneSystem, a utility service in the cloud; there is no onboard management software. The OneBlox appliance, or node, provides an SMB and CIFS interface to a distributed object-based file storage system offering a single global namespace across multiple boxes and locations.

Conceptually speaking, the nodes form rings (clusters), although there is no connection to, or link with, Scality and its RING product technology.

There can be six nodes per ring and, by using 4TB disk drives, a Ring can support 192TB of capacity. As drive capacities increase so, we expect, will ring capacity.

Data protection is continuous - every last write is recoverable - and uses snapshots and replication. Data is replicated across drives and/or nodes. There is no RAID, nor any need for it - or even LUNs, as it happens. In effect, object replicas replace the RAID parity idea.

The system comes in a 2U enclosure with 8 x 3.5in drive bays. Its operating system includes inline deduplication, with all data being encrypted, using AES-256, by default.

Its storage capacity can be increased, either by adding SAS or SATA disk drives and/or SSDs inside the appliance or by adding additional appliances. Both additional and existing nodes are automatically aware of each other, and protect each other against disasters as well.

Exablox box

Exablox's magnificent box

The OneSystem cloud-based management utility is multi-tenant, and Exablox customers use it, via browser access, to manage their OneBlox boxes. They use a drag-and-drop technique to set up site-to-site replication. Each node has an identifying data-string, and once the cloud utility knows this, that user's cloud service is bound to the site's hardware.

CEO Douglas Brockett said Exablox was targeting customers with problems storing unstructured data and/or with backup and recovery issues. For now it is setting virtualised environments and structured data environments aside.

The premise here is that the system is simple to operate and manage, that scalability is equally simple, and protection and recovery is a whole lot easier than using RAID groups and backup software.

It may be that using an underlying object storage system is what enables this, and that it's the object system's data integrity that is important; not the theoretical "virtually unlimited" scalability associated with object storage technology in general.

OneBlox is currently available to select businesses with pricing beginning at under $10,000 for a 32TB product and under $40,000 for a replicated 4-node 64TB disaster recovery config. Remote replication is available as a metered service. Hardware and OneSystem service and support is an annual subscription- which is metered per node.

OneBlox will be generally available in the first half of this year through authorised Exablox partners. ®

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