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Overland offers scale-up, scale-out architecture with SnapScale NAS

Sonia Lelii

Overland Storage today delivered the SnapScale X2 clustered network-attached storage system, based partly on scale-out technology acquired when it bought startup MaxiScale two years ago.

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The SnapScale X2 is a scale-up and scale-out storage architecture that can grow from 24 terabytes (TB) to 512 petabytes (PB) in a single global namespace. It is the first scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) system from Overland, which sells SnapServer NAS and SnapSAN disk storage for small- and medium-sized businesses and midrange companies, as well as tape libraries, autoloaders and virtual tape libraries.

The SnapScale X2 uses Overland's new RAINcloud operating system, which was updated with MaxiScale's distributed file system and global namespace. The RAINcloud OS combines code from MaxiScale with SnapServer's Guardian operating system. MaxiScale's file system technology allows multiple storage nodes to be managed as one storage pool.

"This is a scale-up and scale-out architecture," said Joe Disher, Overland's director of product marketing for disk-based products. "If you have a single device, you can scale up by adding more drives within a node. To scale out, you add more nodes for more storage and more performance."

SnapScale X2 starts with three nodes, and each node contains four to 12 2 TB or 3 TB nearline SAS drives. Each node has a single controller and 4 GB of RAM, and two ports for Gigabit Ethernet.

The global namespace recognizes new clusters or nodes added to a cluster. Overland claims SnapScale can handle up to 512 PB in 10,000 nodes. A three-node cluster has 400 MB per second performance.

"Every time you add a node, you get linear scale in performance," Disher said.

The RAINcloud operating system combines the distributed file system, volume manager and data protection into one unified global namespace to create a file system that spans all nodes, Disher said. It handles distributed metadata, incremental byte-level replications and snapshots. Data on failed drives is rebuilt automatically with available hot spares.

"We have two-way and three-way peer sets across the cluster. In a two-drive peer set you can lose one drive, and in a three-way peer set you can lose two drives, and you only have to write the data that was written," Disher said. "It's not a traditional RAID algorithm."

Terri McClure, a senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group, said Overland's first scale-out NAS system is part of an industry trend in that direction.

"We think that 80% of all external storage will be scale-out by 2015," McClure said. "[SnapScale is different] because in the midrange market, you don't find a lot of scale-out systems."

SnapScale X2 is available now and has a street price of $20,000 for 24 TB.


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