McData Intrepid 10000 (i10K) Director

Disk and disk subsystems

Gold Award:

Hitachi Data Systems TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform

Hitachi Data Systems TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform

Hitachi data systems' (HDS) TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform (USP), the successor to HDS' Lightning 9900 V series, considerably ups the ante of what a storage area network (SAN) array can do.

Our judges gave TagmaStore very high marks for its innovation. TagmaStore isn't only a high-performance block storage array, it can also virtualize Hitachi and selected third-party storage devices attached to it. In other words, it's possible to access TagmaStore's internal storage as well as externally hosted storage through a single interface.

Virtualization isn't new, but embedding it into a storage array is. Unlike virtualization pioneers such as DataCore Software Corp. and FalconStor Software Inc., or more recent entrants like IBM's TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller, HDS has foregone putting virtualization in the network in the form of an appliance or as part of an intelligent switch. Instead, the virtualization capabilities reside in the "control unit," as HDS puts it. This allows TagmaStore users to employ the same software functionality they are familiar with from HDS Lightning arrays, and apply it to any virtualized storage managed by TagmaStore. Harnessing the power of virtualization without having to learn a new system is a big win.

Then there are TagmaStore's performance specs, which are not too shabby. HDS says its top-of-the-line model boasts an incredible 2 million I/Os per second; 81GB/sec aggregate internal bandwidth; scalability to 32PB (that's right, petabytes) of capacity, including 332TB of internal storage; and up to 192 Fibre Channel, 64 ESCON or 48 FICON ports. TagmaStore also has an innovative cache partitioning feature that allows you to carve up TagmaStore storage resources for various servers. This allows you to guarantee an application a certain level of service.

Powered by the third-generation Universal Star Network Crossbar Switch architecture, TagmaStore comes in three models: the USP1100, the USP600 and the entry-level USP100. But be forewarned; this power and innovation doesn't come cheap.

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