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Nimbus Data Systems rolls out larger S-class solid-state storage platform, virtual switch

Nimbus Data Systems extends its all-solid-state storage Nimbus S-class with larger capacity system that expands to 250 TB, plus a FlexConnect virtual switch.

Nimbus Data Systems today rolled out a denser version of the Nimbus S-class all-solid-state storage platform it launched in April, along with a virtual switch option that lets customers connect up to 12 servers without using a physical Ethernet switch.

The new S1000 supports just under 10 TB of solid-state capacity on each shelf by using denser enterprise-ready multi-level cell (EMLC) Flash from Micron Technology Inc. than the versions in the 2.5 TB S250 and 5 TB S500 systems. The S1000 holds 24 400 GB Flash blades in each shelf.

All S-class systems now scale to 25 shelves – up from 21 – for 600 Flash blades. The S1000 supports 250 TB in one system. Nimbus Data Systems' HALO operating system also performs inline deduplication for primary data to expand the amount of usable storage.

Nimbus Data Systems CEO Tom Isakovich said the vendor is targeting cloud providers and high-performance computing (HPC) markets such as oil and gas exploration, biotechnology, genomics and medical imaging with the larger capacity and new capabilities.

"We see it as a ticket for expanding our focus beyond the midtier to organizations that need vastly more capacity," he said.

Nimbus Data Systems' FlexConnect virtual switching technology option proves up to 12 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) ports and makes all storage available to all ports without the need to create and assign volumes to specific ports. Each port can run iSCSI, CIFS and NFS simultaneously – Nimbus does not support Fibre Channel (FC). Customers do not have to use Ethernet or 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches until they connect more than 12 servers to one storage system.

Isakovich said FlexConnect also eliminates latency introduced by switches, which improves I/O response time.

The 12 ports are spread across three active-active controllers for redundancy and load balancing. FlexConnect supports optical cabling up to 500 meters with small form-factor pluggable plus (SFP+) transceivers and copper cabling with 10GBASE-T for 10 GbE performance with existing CAT6 cabling. Isakovich said FlexConnect works with switches from Arista Networks, Blade Network Technologies, Brocade, Cisco, Extreme Neworks, Force10 Networks and Juniper Networks, and network interface cards (NICs) from Brocade, Emulex, Intel, Mellanox, Myricom, Neterion and QLogic.

"You can have a full NAS or SAN without having to buy an Ethernet switch," Isakovich said. "As long as you have 12 or fewer servers, you plug them into the storage and you're done. And you don't have to invest in 10-gig infrastructure."

The S1000 10 TB model is $99,995, while the FlexConnect option with optical fibre or copper costs $9,995. FlexConnect is available for all Nimbus S-class systems.

When Nimbus Data Systems first launched its all-solid-state storage systems, data storage analysts said the systems and pricing sounded almost too good to be true and were waiting for customer acceptance before pronouncing judgement. That remains the case with the latest upgrades.

"Conceptually, FlexConnect is excellent," said Mark Peters, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "You don't have to allocate LUNs, and you get any [Ethernet] protocol to any [Ethernet] protocol connectivity. The potential's huge, particularly since they're not doing it at a zillion times the price point of Fibre Channel.

"But," he continued, "one raised eyebrow will quickly go to two eyebrows of total surprise when you get a real user case study."


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