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ONStor embraces ZFS, goes multiprotocol

By adding open-source Zettabyte File System (ZFS), ONStor provides iSCSI capabilities to its traditional NAS offerings.

ONStor Inc. introduced its first integrated storage system built on the open-source Zettabyte File System (ZFS) this week. The Pantera LS 2100 series supports iSCSI and network-attached storage (NAS), as well as solid-state drives (SSDs), and is targeted at small and mid-sized enterprise (SME) customers.

ZFS creates an integrated storage pool that the entire network draws upon, and adds native iSCSI to ONStor products for the first time. Narayan Venkat, vice president of marketing at ONStor, said customers don't have to manage partitions, create volumes or carve-out logical unit numbers (LUNs). The controller sees all of the storage behind it as one hybrid pool. "The idea here is to set the box and forget about it," Venkat said.

The Pantera LS 2130 has a quad-core Intel Corp. Xeon processor, 8 GB of memory, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and supports up to 48 SAS or SATA Seagate drives. The LS 2150 has two quad-core Intel Xeon processors, 16 GB of memory, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and scales to 96 SAS, SATA or SSDs. Venkat said ONStor is using Intel's X25-E SATA SSD drives.

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Both LS 2100 series products include RAID 5 and RAID 6 management, unlimited and instantaneous snapshots (at one-second intervals if needed), block-based incremental replication, thin provisioning and native compression, which administrators can turn on and off as needed.

"We believe enterprise file systems are starting to commoditize with ZFS, and that's good for the industry, Venkat said. "By using open technologies, we're offering the benefits of open-source technologies at much better price-performance points."

George Crump, president and founder of Storage Switzerland LLC, a storage-industry market research company, said using ZFS gives ONStor block storage capability without having to develop it in-house.

"What ONStor has done very intelligently is leveraged an existing file system by using ZFS, as opposed to having to reinvent everything from scratch," Crump said. "That instantly gives them a lot of very tested and proven capabilities, and allows the company to focus on the data management component of providing a storage solution."

The LS 2100 series also offers integrated search functionality, predictive failure analysis, guaranteed data integrity and writable data-set snapshot cloning.

When configured with 15 TBs of SATA storage, the Pantera LS 2130's list price is approximately $36,000. With the same configuration, the LS 2150 is about $39,500. A 7 TB entry-level appliance will cost approximately $20,000. ONStor developed its pricing model after customers told the company that they don't want to be charged on a line-item basis.

"Our goal was to give SMEs a quote that has only two line items: one for the hardware and one for support," Venkat said.

ONStor can offer the LS 2100 as a lower-cost alternative to unified storage systems from EMC Corp. and NetApp, and will compete in the SME space with iSCSI systems from Dell/EqualLogic Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co./LeftHand Networks Inc.

"Now there's [another] viable competitor that I think a lot of [SME] customers would be wise to consider," Crump said.

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