The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Products of the Year awards highlight innovative enterprise data storage products released in 2009 that introduce new technologies or take existing technologies to the next level.
In this podcast, SearchStorage.com senior news director Dave Raffo discusses the 2009 winners in the disks and disk subsystems category. This category encompasses technologies such as storage-area networks (SANs), network-attached storage (NAS), direct-attached storage (DAS), primary drives and disk controllers.
You can read the transcript below or download the interview as an MP3.
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2009 disk and disk subsystems Product of the Year winners
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Products were judged by a panel of users, analysts, consultants, and Storage magazine and SearchStorage.com editors. Judges rated the products on six criteria: innovation, performance, ease of integration into environment, ease of use and manageability, functionality and value..
Last year's big winner in the disks and disk subsystems category was BlueArc Corp. with its Titan 3200 Network Storage System.
Here are the winners in the Products of the Year 2009 disks and disk subsystems category:
Bronze: Avere Systems Inc. FXT Series
Startup Avere Systems' FXT Series solid-state drive (SSD) product caught our judges' attention because it combines clustered NAS, file virtualization and automatic data placement with SSDs. That means it's not just an SSD product, but rather it uses solid-state drives to solve customer pain points.
FXT Series nodes are available in two models: the FXT 2300 and FXT 2500.
SearchStorage.com's Raffo: Avere is a newcomer that impressed our judges, as previously mentioned, by combining several storage characteristics in demand, mainly clustered NAS and solid state. It also adds file virtualization to manage the NAS capabilities and automatic data placement to make solid state more effective.
The Avere Operating System (OS) organizes data into storage tiers and automatically places active data on the FXT appliances.
Silver: Dell Inc. EqualLogic PS6000 Series
Dell Inc.'s $1.4 billion acquisition of EqualLogic Corp. has turned it into the iSCSI market leader.
The PS6000 extends the Dell midrange array offerings by adding SSD support, more cache, faster processors, and enhanced management and data protection software.
Our judges were most impressed with the Ethernet-based system's ease of use and integration.
SearchStorage.com's Raffo: Even before Dell bought EqualLogic in 2008, EqualLogic had long been considered the gold standard in iSCSI storage. The PS6000's features such as solid-state support, more cache and faster processers reflect a trend that iSCSI vendors are trying to drive the technology into the enterprise market.
So while iSCSI won't replace Fibre Channel (FC) for applications that demand top performance, companies with FC SANS may find iSCSI good enough for other applications and they can save money by using it alongside Fibre Channel. iSCSI has, at the least, some of the features that enterprises are looking for, such as the solid-state and SAS support capabilities found in the PS6000.
Gold: 3PAR Inc. InServ F400 Storage Server
3PAR's InServ enterprise data storage systems have always garnered high marks for their thin provisioning and management features, but the vendor's midrange offerings never gained much respect until the F-Class came out last April.
Despite our judges deeming it a bit pricey (starting at $86,000 for 2.3 TB of capacity), they were impressed with the F400's features for a midrange system, giving it high scores for performance, ease of use and functionality.
SearchStorage.com's Raffo: Basically 3PAR took thin provisioning and the other storage management features that won high grades for their enterprise systems and brought those features down to the midrange with the F-Class series. The timing was good, as 3PAR had just recently upgraded its high-end T-Class platform with new features that came down to the F-Class, such as mesh-active quad-controller technology, thin provisioning, ASIC and new management software for 3PAR's thin technologies.