Avere adds hybrid storage NAS accelerator

Avere Systems pushes out FXT 3800 hybrid storage NAS accelerators with DRAM, NVRAM, SSDs and hard drives to speed random I/O performance.

Avere Systems expanded its NAS acceleration platform today with the FXT 3800, its first filer to include memory, solid-state drives and hard disk drives in one box.

Avere's FXT edge filer appliances use a combination of dynamic RAM (DRAM), nonvolatile random access memory (NVRAM), solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs) to accelerate performance of other vendors' NAS nodes. The Avere FXT 4000 series incorporates DRAM, NVRAM and SSDs for sequential high-capacity storage requirements, and its FXT 3000 series -- the 3100, 3200 and 3500 -- is aimed at random I/O performance.

Previous FXT 3000 models used DRAM, NRAM and SAS HDDs, but the new FXT 3800 also has flash SSDs. Each 2U FXT 3800 edge filer has 14 slots for hard drives and two for SSDs. The hybrid storage device can hold a maximum of 800 GB of enterprise multi-level cell (eMLC) SSD, along with 144 GB of DRAM, 2 GB of NVRAM and 7.8 TB of hard drives. The filer also has six Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) and two 10-GigE ports. The FXT 3800 supports up to 40 TB of SSD and 390 TB of hard drives in a 50-node cluster.

The FXT 3800 has the same amount of memory as the FXT 3500, which supports 9 TB of HDD, but no flash. Avere CEO Ron Bianchini said capacity is about the same on the two systems, but SSDs give the hybrid storage FXT 3800 40% more performance.

"Because we do dynamic tiering, you get the benefit of performance and what the spinning media brings for capacity," he said.

The FXT 3800 can also replicate data onto near-line SAS/SATA drives on the NAS nodes it is accelerating, giving it another storage tier.

The 3800 will be available by early May and pricing starts at $112,500.

George Crump, president of IT analyst firm Storage Switzerland, said the 3800 will open the target market for Avere to larger network-attached storage (NAS) customers that need higher performance with SSDs. Avere's current customer base is generally in the medium to small enterprise range.

"It gives you the same performance of a high-end [NAS] unit," Crump said. "A lot of environments have a two- or three-year-old NAS investment that is still fine from a capacity standpoint, but it is hitting a performance wall. Now you can add Avere and take care of the performance problem."

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