Compellent adds storage virtualization, SAS support to SAN arrays

Compellent looks to make its SAN arrays a better fit for enterprises, adds Live Volume storage virtualization, higher scalability, and support for 6 Gbps SAS and FCoE.

Compellent today upgraded its Storage Center SAN arrays, adding Live Volume storage virtualization software that lets customers migrate data volumes non-disruptively between its arrays along with hardware enhancements designed to scale the systems higher.

Compellent also upgraded its controllers from Series 30 to Series 40 with Intel Xeon quad-core Nehalem processors and an additional PCI slot for a total of slots. With Storage Center 4.5, Compellent added support for 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch 6 Gbps SAS drives, fitting up to 24 2.5-inch drives in a 2U enclosure and 16 3.5-inch drives in a 3U enclosure. StorageCenter also now supports Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and 10-Gigabit Ethernet iSCSI.

Compellent systems have traditionally sold to SMB and midrange organizations, but the vendor is looking for the enhancements to take it into enterprise accounts.

"Live Volume is a critical piece that lets us take our products to the next level," said Compellent director of product marketing Bob Fine. "It lets us optimize storage between systems. Storage can follow the volume as the volume moves."

Compellent bills Live Volume as a storage hypervisor. It works with VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Xen Server hypervisors.

Analyst Noemi Greyzdorf, a research manager for storage software at IDC, said Live Volume removes volumes from being limited to specific physical hardware.

"It's a very important part of their software," she said. "The volume is not married to the hardware. The volume can span to more than one Compellent controller and you are protected against failure and it allows more virtualization maintenance. It's fluid for high availability, redundancy and support virtual machine migrations. They are moving forward and adding functions and features to manage data in a fluid way and not be constrained by the physical locations."

Compellent calls the upgrades the foundation for a storage grid, but today Live Volume supports movement between only two systems and works with planned outages. Fine said there are plans to scale to more arrays and across distances so it can work for unplanned disruptions and in more of a grid implementation.

Gaming company BioWare began using volume Live Volume about three months ago as an extension to Compellent's SAN to SAN data replication. Live Volume lets BioWare keep its applications running continuously without outages during maintenance and migration jobs, said Craig Miller, senior team leader for infrastructure at BioWare.

"We are a 24 by 7 shop and there is never good time for an outage or maintenance," Miller said. "The Live Volume has your servers point to the both arrays for active I/O if the primary array fails then the server does not need to restarted. The volume or LUN exists on both arrays and has the same data. Normally, if there is an outage, you have to remap the LUN to the active server and restart the application. With Live Volume, either array can sustain the application should either array fail. Two arrays can view the same volume/LUN and be the destination point for the same I/O."

Compellent's Enterprise Manager now allows customers to manage multiple arrays residing in disparate locations via a single view. The vendor also added a plug-in allowing Compellent arrays to be managed inside of VMware vCenter.

Pricing starts at $76,000 for clustered Series 40 controllers, 6 TB of 2.5-inch SAS storage and licenses for Live Volume, Enterprise Manager, Data Progression tiering and Remote Instant Replay replication.

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