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Midrange rivals top dog

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Alternative midrange array architectures

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Can't find a midrange array that quite meets your needs? Here are some new midrange storage arrays that may better match your specific requirements.

FUJITSU ETERNUS2000. The Eternus2000 allows administrators to enable or disable 128-bit encryption for each logical volume, which prevents another storage array from reading the data on the disk if the disk is ever removed. Its massive array of idle disks technology allows administrators to set policies on a specific disk or groups of disks so they're powered down when not in use. Fujitsu claims users can see up to a 20% reduction in power usage vs. other arrays.

LEFTHAND NETWORKS INC. SAN/iQ SOFTWARE. As companies consolidate Windows and Linux servers using VMware, they may end up with excess servers with no express purpose. LeftHand Networks' SAN/iQ software allows companies to repurpose those servers into clustered storage nodes accessible over Ethernet using iSCSI. There's no theoretical limit to the number of servers in a cluster; LeftHand Networks has successfully tested up to 40 nodes. You may also purchase Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp. servers preconfigured with the SAN/iQ software. The main downside of this configuration is if a server goes offline, all data behind that server becomes inaccessible; users should therefore mirror data across multiple servers to prevent unexpected outages.

OVERLAND STORAGE INC. ULTAMUS RAID 1200. This unit is designed for users who need high availability and high capacity at a lower price. Suggested retail pricing for the Ultamus RAID 1200 starts at approximately $1,000/TB for SATA drives and $5,000/TB for SAS drives; the unit scales to 45TB using SATA drives.

NEC CORP. D-SERIES NEC's D-Series storage arrays allow users to scale the same controller unit from a 2U, four Fibre Channel (FC) Port D1-10 with 96 SAS or SATA drives to a D8-1040 with 64 FC Ports with 1,152 SAS or SATA drives. Most of the upgrades occur offline except with the highest-end models.

Same name, different price
In addition to controller architectures, replication software, volume snapshots and tiered storage management can vary significantly among arrays, including how vendors charge for these important functions. About a year ago, Arch Coal's Brueggeman replaced a small Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. FC SAN with an EqualLogic Inc. iSCSI PS200E array SAN because "Arch Coal was being priced to death for each software component," she says. EqualLogic licensed its array management and replication software as part of the price of the array. (The PS200E has since been discontinued, but EqualLogic still supports the model.)

Fiberlink Communications' Cirelli, who's satisfied with the overall performance and support he receives on his HDS AMS1000, indicates that if asynchronous replication had been available at a lower cost or free from another vendor, his purchase decision might have been different. He has two AMS1000s in different sites and considered using HDS' TrueCopy Remote Replication software to replicate data between them. However, it would cost more than $300,000 to license the software, and he would need to dedicate an FC port on each array for replication and purchase an FC-to-IP router for both sites. Because of this, Cirelli decided to continue his use of host-based replication software, which is considerably less expensive than HDS' array-based option.

This was first published in May 2007

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