Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/26/cleversafe/

Cleversafe beats RAID/replication scale trap

Distributed slices of data

By Chris Mellor

Posted in Storage, 26th February 2010 10:05 GMT

Cleversafe has improved the hardware it sells to distribute slices of data around a network, reckoning this is much cheaper at the PB scale than a RAID and replication combination.

RAID 5 will protect a drive failure. RAID 6 will proptect against a double drive failure. So if a second drive fails while a rebuild is recovering from a first drive failure you can still recover data, albeit with much more storage overhead. As the number and size of disk drives in an enterprise increases the statistical likelihood of a third drive failure while a rebuild is in operation increases, meaning a greater overhead RAID scheme will need to be devised.

IT departments replicate data from one data centre to another to help ensure data is safe if an entire data centre goes down. This means multiple copies of data, overhead which is added to the RAID overhead and uses up more storage capacity.

Cleversafe's dsNet technology ingests data and cuts it up into thousands of slices that are distributed across nodes, Slicestors, in its network. It claims six out of 16 Slicestors can fail and data will still be accessible. The storage overhead is said to be much less than with a generic RAID plus replication arrangement.

There are new Slicestor Storage Servers. The 2100 is a 1U/8TB box with the 2200 being a 2U/24TB one. Accesser appliances ingest data and cut it up into slices, sending them to the Slicestors. The Accessor 2100 has 10GbitE connectivity and uses flash memory to speed O/S operations.

These components are combined in a new turnkey product, the dsNet Cabinet 2200, which has 18 Slicestors, two Accesser appliances, a dsNet Manager Appliance, a 48-port multi-layer Ethernet switch, Omnience management software, and 432TB of raw storage.

Cleversafe says its kit is best used for storing nearline and archive data and can scale from terabytes to petabytes. It is for customers looking to store various content types, such as unstructured files, media, large objects and sensitive information, in private and public cloud deployments with virtually limitless amounts of data.

This market is also the one addressed by IBM's SONAS, Hitachi Data Systems Content Archive Platform, NEC's HYDRAstor Permabit and others.

Cleversafe CEO Chris Gladwin says: "We can deliver on making data always available, bit-perfect, and reliable over its lifetime.” Other suppliers will say the same thing, and customer choices will come down to brand, economics, functionality and reliability. Gladwin reckons Cleversafe has the lead on the storage economics front. ®