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WD shuns flash, plonks enlarged racks on shelf

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WD has extended its unified storage Sentinel range into a 1U, Atom-powered rackmount shelf, a first for WD as it enters the rackmount storage market.

Up until now, the DX4000 Sentinel was an Atom CPU-powered desktop box with between 4 and 16TB of capacity from its 4 x 3.5in HDD bays positioned one above the other.

Position those bays side by side, stick the processor, power supply and other components behind them and you get a 1U rackmount version of essentially the same box: this is the Sentinel RX4100.

There is a dual-core Atom 1.8GHz CPU which runs Windows Storage Server 2008 RE Essentials - we're talking a low-end box, here. The rackmounted Sentinel can have 8TB, 12TB and 16TB capacity levels, with 4 x 3.5in drive bays accommodating 4TB WD disk drives. RAID-5 provides drive-level data protection.

It provides a file interface, meaning NFS and CIFS/SMB, as well as an iSCSI block one. The Sentinel can be a backup target for both Macs - yes, Time Machine is supported - and Windows machines. The box can be accessed remotely via a web browser and there are a pair of 1GbitE ports, along with two USB 3.0 ones .

Data protection is a particular focus of the RX4100 and the Windows software includes the facility to back up 25 Windows and Mac OS networked client computers. It boasts “options for complete bare-metal backup and restoration of the entire system, as well as incremental backups and restoration for specific files."

WD is also supplying a third party disaster recovery option, with KeepVault online storage coming as standard with the device's dashboard.

WD says it is "a simple and affordable way for SMBs to centralise and store all of their documents and digital assets in one secure location."

Let's speculate for a minute and think of a 1U future Sentinel populated with SSDs instead of disk drives, replacing the processor mill with proper X86 cores. That wouldn't be a measly low-end filer/iSCSI SAN box; that would be a mini SMB storage powerhouse.

The Sentinel RX4100 is available through select US distributors and online at the wdstore.com. You can also get it from WD authorised SMB resellers and VARs in the US and Canada. Suggested retail pricing is $1,899.00 for 8TB, $1,999.00 for 12TB and $2,349.00 for 16TB configurations. There is a three-year warranty. ®

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