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Overland strengthens RAINcloud OS for SnapScale scale-out NAS

Highlights of Overland's RAINcloud 4.1 include rolling updates, high-performance snapshots, and support for SMB 2.0, NFS 4 and LDAP.

Overland Storage Inc. has released version 4.1 of the RAINcloud operating system for its SnapScale clustered NAS platforms, featuring product enhancements for performance and security, snapshots and continuous data protection.

Overland first launched the RAINcloud scale-out storage operating system in 2012, combining its Guardian operating system with a distributed file system and global namespace that came from the acquisition of MaxiScale. RAINcloud allows storage across systems to be managed as one pool.

RAINcloud 4.1 tweaked to improve performance, file sharing

RAINcloud 4.1 is available to existing SnapScale customers as a free download from Overland's website or on new SnapScale X2 clustered NAS and SnapScale X4 unified NAS-iSCSI arrays.

"RAINcloud 4.1 allows an administrator to really see what's going on with the storage environment and immediately troubleshoot any storage bottlenecks," said Jeremy Zuber, Overland's senior manager of business development.

Overland introduced support for Server Message Block 2.0 and NFS 4 in the latest RAINcloud version, and added a feature known as a Windows-only Tree to aid file sharing in mixed environments. Windows-only Tree improves permission handling and authentication, which enables Windows and Unix or Mac users to share files. It also lets administrators lock file permissions to Windows-only mode.

Previous versions of RAINcloud provided support for Microsoft Active Directory. The latest release adds Lightweight Directory Access Protocol for Overland customers who want an alternative to Active Directory -- mainly educational and research institutions that run isolated networks and storage outside a Windows domain.

No reboots during OS upgrades

RAINcloud 4.1 is Overland's first NAS release with rolling updates, eliminating the need to reboot a system when implementing upgrades. Instead of shutting down a system, the OS will update nodes one by one while keeping systems connected and online. Overland claims it can keep downtime to less than five minutes per year.

"That's the level of uptime customers expect from clustered NAS. It needs to be uninterrupted 24/7, no matter what," Zuber said.

Administrators have a new tool to monitor the performance of Overland storage. A console for running reports on I/O history can pinpoint bottlenecks and isolate them by time of day or network component. The console also includes a suite of management tools for accelerating I/O performance across a cluster.

RAINcloud 4.1 includes an implementation for high-performance snapshots for continuous data protection, which improves write performance by as much as three times over previous versions, Zuber said. He said the snapshots can be turned on without taking a performance hit.

Overland is still struggling to sell its SnapServer products, with only $9.5 million in revenue from the disk platform over the past year. But perhaps the burnished SnapScale OS could attract new enterprise NAS customers and reawaken interest among those who have forgotten about the platform, said Greg Schulz, a senior analyst with IT infrastructure consulting firm StorageIO Group.

"It's great to see Overland evolving the Snap platform, which is one of the more mature hybrid converged, unified and multiprotocol NAS systems in the marketplace," Schulz said.

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