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Array slinger X-IO jumps on Windows Storage Server filly, digs in heels

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Array supplier X-IO will run Windows Storage Server 2012 inside its data vaults in hope of a Redmond-assisted sales boost.

The operating system software and X-IO's Integrated Storage Element (ISE) disk box have been brought together to power the new File Storage Controller (FSC) 2200: a sealed, five-year maintenance-free enclosure of drives delivering more input-output operations than an equivalent third-party enclosure with a similar number of drives and storage capacity. There is a flash-boosted Hyper ISE version that goes faster still.

The rackmount FSC 2200 is a hot box, 5U in size, and ran at 500MB/sec and 60,000 IOPS (albeit with an unknown block size) during demonstrations last week. X-IO's Hyper ISE runs at 60,000 IOPS.

FSC2200 from X-IO

X-IO FSC 2200

X-IO calls it a cluster-in-a-box appliance, and says it can be used for "desktop and server virtualisation, online transaction processing (OLTP) applications, data warehousing and business intelligence environments, and most Big Data environments". It supports CIFS/SMB v1, v2, v2.1 and SMBv3, NFSv4.1 and iSCSI protocols.

Other details, such as its capacity and price, are not available. There's a product page on X-IO's website and a datasheet [PDF] available.

This tells us it's capable of "data deduplication and compression, designed for primary data". This is new for X-IO. Also, it "can be configured in up to 30 minutes with a total install time of less than two hours".

We also learn there are two HP DL360e G8 controllers, each with two quad-core Intel E5-2403 CPUS running at 1.8GHz, plus 32GB of memory. Both Hyper ISE and USE 2 hardware is supported with Fibre Channel (HP-branded QLogic 2562) and Ethernet access - 1GbE and 10GbE are available. We understand that if one processor fails the thing auto-fails over to the other with SMB 3.0 and Windows Server 2012 Continuous Availability.

Multiple FSC 2200s can be clustered together with Microsoft Windows Server Failover Clustering. The thing can run faster still with the "SMB Direct Protocol, supporting the use of network adapters that have Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability, and enabling the network adapters to function at full speed with very low latency, while using very few CPU cycles".

A X-IO spokesperson said the biz is "planning to undertake SPECsfs 2008 in due course", suggesting the performance attributes could be worthwhile.

The datasheet confirms that both ISE-2 and Hyper ISE hardware versions will be available, and we understand Hyper ISE can have up to 21.2TB of capacity

This pairing of the ISE and Hyper ISE hardware with a full-blooded storage software operating system is a departure for X-IO and could, if its advantage over other Windows Storage Server 2012 boxes is sustainable and real, lead to an upturn in X-IO's fortunes.

The X-IO spokesperson added: "Pricing is currently being set and we should have this finalised by the end of June." General availability is expected in August. ®

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