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Gridstore Inc. Hyper-V storage goes bigger, deepens Windows support

Gridstore beefs up capacity for its Hyper-V storage arrays and integrates management through Microsoft Windows Systems Center.

Gridstore Inc., which sells storage arrays specifically for Microsoft Windows Servers and Hyper-V, this week launched larger capacity systems and added the ability to manage the systems from inside Microsoft System Center.

Gridstore's new 2U nodes can hold 48 TB of capacity, up from a 12 TB maximum in its previous nodes. Customers can cluster 250 nodes, bringing the total capacity to 12 petabytes in one pool. The startup now allows customers to manage storage nodes and pools along with their servers and hosts through System Center's Virtual Machine (VM) Manager.

The new systems come 10 months after Gridstore tailored its clustered storage specifically for Windows servers. Gridstore nodes include a virtual controller (vController) that sits on each hypervisor host and spreads each LUN across the nodes. The vControllers stripe data across nodes, using erasure coding for fault tolerance and giving each VM a separate storage stack. The grid architecture eliminates backplane networks and replicas required for RAID. I/O can be controlled on a per-VM level for quality of service.

Gridstore founder and CTO Kelly Murphy said the System Center integration completes the vendor's software-defined storage and cloud storage vision. Gridstore is built on commodity hardware with all the key features handled in software.

"This is the final building block that we've been looking to put in place," Murphy said of the System Center integration. "The first building block was to make it elastic -- you don't have to pre-buy all your capacity; you can buy as you grow. The second [building block] was to provision specific amounts of I/O in a way that is not possible with traditional storage."

As with previous Gridstore nodes, the 48 TB nodes can be configured for performance or pure capacity. The performance nodes include two 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports and 1.1 TB of flash, while the capacity nodes have two or four GbE ports and no flash. The performance nodes are for databases and other apps that demand high I/O, and the capacity nodes are for backup and archiving. A grid requires at least three nodes.

Although more companies still use VMware hypervisors, Gridstore CEO George Symons said the vendor is still going "full speed ahead on Hyper-V." A key reason for that is because Gridstore can achieve deeper integration with Hyper-V than with VMware. A Gridstore node appears like a local drive on Windows, simplifying the setup and management. "It's easy to install our vController into Microsoft," Symons said. "With VMware it has to sit inside ESX, and VMware has not opened up its architecture to make it easy to install into ESX."

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